About Us

College Factor is a 501 (c) 3 registered nonprofit on a mission to empower students to attain a college degree. We promote higher education in low-income communities and work with families and schools to ensure students have the academic skills in math and literacy to become college graduates.


What We've Accomplished:.

In the 2017-2018 school year we completed a pilot program at a local high school.  We worked with a geometry class of students with limited English skills.  Throughout four months we gave bilingual math instruction, developed hands on activities for students to understand math concepts and collaborated with the class instructor on lesson planning.  At the end of the program students increased their proficiency in math and gave us encouraging feedback on our work. 

Since 2015 we've been visiting local high schools promoting higher education and careers in STEM.  During our presentations we discuss college entrance exams and the academic skills students need to excel on these tests.  We talk about the benefits of getting a college degree and on how to pursue a career in STEM. We also give these sessions in Spanish to reach English language learners. 

In the past years College Factor has raised awareness of the barriers that keep low-income students from becoming college graduates. In 2017, Carlos Cárdenas, founder of College Factor, testified before the DC Council on Education and in 2015 wrote an opinion piece for The Guardian.  


Empower students to become college graduates and to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).


A future where the odds of getting a college degree is based on a student’s dedication to learning rather than on their ethnic, cultural or socioeconomic background.

Our Values

Quality education makes a difference.  



Success comes from having the opportunity to succeed.  


Learning is an experience every student is capable of having.  



Understand the needs of the communities we serve.  



Carlos Cárdenas is Founder of College Factor.  He worked as a public school math teacher for over seven years in Washington D.C.  He maintained a proven-track record of student success and was a strong advocate of quality education for all students.  

Carlos is a native of Queens, New York.  His parents came to the US from Colombia with only a 6th grade education and with limited English skills. Despite their limitations they expected their children to become college educated.   Carlos' mom would often help him study for exams and, to his dismay as a child, make him work on math problems before going to school in the morning.  

Carlos earned his bachelor's from St. Johns University and later attained an M.A. in economics from Johns Hopkins University.  He worked at the US Treasury Department for a couple of years, but found working in education to be his real passion.  He is currently an adjunct professor of economics and mathematics in Washington, D.C. 

Sherry Samuels is a Certified Life Coach with more than 12 years experience helping young people understand what it means to create a life of joy and purpose. Prior to starting her coaching practice, Sherry worked with children and families in crisis, helping them focus on the importance of self-care, compassion and communication.

With an understanding that all it takes is one person to believe in and/or push you, Sherry has always been passionate about working with youth coming from “at risk” backgrounds to help them see their true promise. Sherry is a graduate of Georgia State University where she focused on Urban Policy Studies.