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Academy for College Excellence: Development of a National Expansion Strategy

Case Overview

FSG helped the Academy for College Excellence define and model key components for national expansion and helped develop a comprehensive business plan to support the organization’s growth.

The Challenge

The Academy for College Excellence (ACE) had great success in working with under-prepared community college students to rapidly bring them up to college-level work, leveraging a cost-effective model validated by third-party evaluators. Based on the program’s success, and given the national need for such programs, ACE felt poised for significant expansion. ACE was looking for a partner to help develop a strategic plan that would outline its future organizational placement/legal structure, scaling strategy and timing, sustainability strategy (including sources of funding), and management structure.

Approach & Solutions

FSG organized a multi-phase effort to develop ACE’s national growth plan. As the project launched, FSG conducted an extensive document review and engaged in primary and secondary research to gather further information for key decisions to be made regarding ACE’s legal structure. Day-long working sessions were facilitated with the Executive Director, Managing Director, and other key ACE staff at each stage of the process to validate findings, make decisions, gather further input, and brainstorm strategies together.

After a decision was made on ACE’s future legal structure, FSG worked with ACE to define program components for scaling, develop a geographic rollout plan, and model expansion scenarios. Based on the scale and pace of expansion, scenarios for sustaining ACE’s growth through cost and revenue projections were modeled. Finally, FSG worked with ACE to develop an organizational structure to support growth.

At the end of the process, FSG provided ACE with several tools to use in the fundraising and implementation of its expansion plan:

  • A business plan outlining ACE’s value proposition, market trends, the growth strategy, financials and sustainability considerations, and implementation considerations such as legal structure, governance and organizational structure, and risks/mitigation plans
  • A set of PowerPoint slides that ACE leadership could use as needed in internal and external meetings
  • An Excel workbook modeling the financial implications of the expansion plan

About the Academy for College Excellence

Academy for College Excellence (ACE) is a full-time, first-semester community college program with proven results. ACE targets the needs of under-prepared students, while equipping them to succeed in the technology-driven, 21st-century economy. A highly collaborative enterprise that teaches teamwork and personal responsibility, the ACE approach also promotes individual self-exploration, self-improvement, and persistence.

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