"I've never really thought of myself as the greatest student. College was not on my mind," she said. "Now I'm a sophomore at San Jose State University. My full tuition is covered, and I'm mentoring a high school student."
Many former mentees, like Brancato, become Strive for College mentors.
"It's that 'paying it forward' mentality that is building a Strive movement that will solve this problem, I think, within the next decade," Carter said.
Carter graduated from college in 2010 and has devoted himself full-time to his nonprofit. Strive for College now has 12 university chapters working in 15 high schools nationwide, and it is planning to launch eight more chapters this year.
"The more we grow, the more students we help, the greater our impact, the bigger our movement," Carter said. "We'll go from changing hundreds to thousands of lives, to changing hundreds of thousands, and some day soon, even millions.
"I'm so sure this will happen, because I believe in our generation. I know our mentors. I know the students we serve. And I know that together we are going to solve this problem."
Want to get involved? Check out the Strive for College website at www.striveforcollege.org and see how to help.