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New College Access KnowHow2GO PSAs to Debut at US Open

August 29, 2012


​The Ad Council, in partnership with ACE and the U.S. Tennis Association, will debut new TV public service advertisements (PSAs) at the US Open today on behalf of the national KnowHow2GO campaign designed to encourage low-income and first generation students to take the steps necessary to prepare for college. The ads will premiere on TV screens throughout the Arthur Ashe Stadium during the tournament.

Research conducted by the Ad Council shows that young Americans, regardless of income level, recognize the significance of a college education, with nine of ten students hoping to participate in a postsecondary education. However, despite high aspirations, low-income and first generation students face barriers that often stand in the way of them reaching their potential, including lack of college-going knowledge, preparation and guidance. In fact, the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Aid reports that while 94% of high school graduates from the highest income families enrolled in postsecondary institutions, only 54% of those from the lowest income families pursued higher education.

”Higher education is the surest path to future success for young men and women and their families,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. “KnowHow2GO has helped thousands of low-income and first generation students realize that postsecondary education is within their reach and empowered them to plan and prepare for the opportunities before them.”

First launched in January 2007, with generous support from Lumina Foundation, KnowHow2GO is a unified, national PSA campaign that combines education and community-based and government partnerships to raise awareness about preparing for college and what it takes to get there. In addition to students, the campaign also targets their parents and adult influencers to encourage them to start the college preparation process early. The campaign motivates students and their families to seek information about college, have better academic preparation, apply to college, seek financial aid and, ultimately, enroll in postsecondary institutions.

This year’s creative features tennis-themed TV PSAs, created pro bono by ad agency DDB, which focus on the persistence required to achieve a goal. The message is that mastering the tennis court takes hard work and persistence, just like the path to attending college. The teens featured in the spots are a part of the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) program.

“In our sixth year of this critical campaign, KnowHow2GO is resonating with students and families throughout the country and helping them believe that they can and will achieve their dreams of a postsecondary education,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “We are very grateful to the USTA for their support and helping produce these inspiring new PSAs—with a powerful metaphor to tennis—which will help us continue to have an impact.”

Since the launch of the campaign, students’ expectations of getting a college degree have grown significantly and 63% of students today say they are “very likely” to get a four-year college degree (an increase from 51% in 2007). Additionally, more students are “very confident” that they are doing the things they need to do in order to get to college, from 42% in 2007 to 54% in 2011, along with more students reporting that they are “regularly” taking steps to prepare for college.

The PSAs direct audiences to visit, which features a wealth of information, including step-by-step planning guides for students in both middle and high school, facts on costs and financial aid, college prep quizzes, conversation starters and links to additional organizations and programs’ resources.

“At the USTA, we see tennis as the sport of opportunity, a sport that provides unmatched opportunities for personal development and a sport that often opens doors of opportunity to higher education, “ said Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “Therefore, using tennis in these PSAs as an analogy for the hard work and determination it takes to succeed in higher education—and at every endeavor—is a perfect fit. We are excited and proud to be debuting these spots and sharing their important message during this year’s US Open.”

Through the partnership with the USTA, the TV ads will premiere on screens inside the stadium during the tournament. Additionally, USTA will feature content about the campaign on its website,, and social media channels. Furthermore, ESPN2 and the Tennis Channel will be airing the new PSAs during the tournament.

“We are incredibly excited to bring the synergies of this campaign together with all the great work being done by the United States Tennis Association,” said Joseph Cianciotto, executive creative director at DDB. “The USTA’s National Junior Tennis Learning (NJTL) programs embody the very heart and soul of the KnowHow2GO program and exemplify the brick and mortar organizational strengths critical to delivering upon this objective.”

The Ad Council will distribute the new PSAs to media outlets nationwide this week. Per the Ad Council model, the ads will air and run in advertising time and space donated by the media. The KnowHow2GO campaign has received over $209 million dollars in donated media since the January 2007 launch.

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