An academic coach and student are sitting together at a table in the school courtyard.

Meet our community

The students at Gateway U are a tightknit group of learners and strivers. Students are broken into cohorts, which help and support each other as they brush shoulders in our coworking student space. Our community is also more than just students, it also includes mentors, coaches, businesses and so much more.

our students

At Gateway U, we are committed to supporting students who’ve traditionally been under served by our post-secondary system. Our students are:

Pie graph showing 40%


Parent learners

Pie chart of 85%


First-gen student

Pie chart of 93%


Black, Latinx, or AAPI

College isn’t designed for most students needs

Most colleges simply weren’t designed around the needs of real students. Student-advisor ratios can run as high as 1000:1, making it near-impossible for students to troubleshoot challenging course schedules or snags in financial aid. We are here to address key issues to ensure traditionally under served groups like working students, parent learners, and first-generation students can be as successful as possible.

On-time graduation rates for students

pie graph showing 9%


Community colleges

pie graph showing 3%


For-profit online programs

Pie graph showing 23%


State universities

I've always hated applying for the FAFSA. However Gateway U made the process seamless. Kasny (Recruitment and Enrollment Specialist) walked me through every step and broke down what FAFSA was asking for. Thanks to him, the whole process was completed with ease. I am very grateful for all of his and Gateway U's help!

Gateway U Student
A black and white photo of the Executive Director, who is hugging a student while looking at the camera. She looks happy and has a big smile.

Why we are here

Gateway U began reimagining the college experience in 2019, working towards our mission to provide real support to real students. We believe things get done when we work together. All members of our community are here to help our students succeed in their higher education journey. As a non-profit, we aren’t in it for the money. Ultimately, your success is our success.

As we work to realize this vision, we commit to the following values.

drawing of two doors that are open

Open doors

We believe that success should be possible for all who want and work for it. We actively challenge systems of routine and inequity.

drawing of a group of students

Stronger Together

We strengthen our capacity by helping one another succeed. We use our talents, influence, and ideas to contribute to our community.

Drawing of a shining star

Count all the wins

We believe that the journey shapes our character and supports our path to achieving our goals. We celebrate little wins just as we do the big ones.

Our impact

We aim to build a new model of higher education.

Drawing of a blue ribbon

Decrease time to a degree

Drawing of a blue ribbon

Increase on-time graduation

Drawing of a blue ribbon

Unlock economic mobility

Our results to date

I’ve felt extremely supported by my coach. She knows my habits, strengths, and weaknesses — I don’t think I’d be able to do this without her.
Gateway U student
Bi-monthly student feedback survey
Average out-of-pocket cost per term


This refers to the net cost of a SNHU BA at Gateway U, after factoring  in grants/scholarships (but not loans).

Current national average net cost of a college degree



Average debt avoided


This compares average loans for a BA at Gateway U vs a BA at NJ in-state universities.

Median salary post SNHU degree



Meet our team

We’re your coaches, your admissions specialists,  your advocates, and supporters.

Saymah Nah

Executive Director
View bio

Saymah Nah

Executive Director

Saymah is a lifelong educator and proud Newark native. Throughout her journey, she has served in the capacity of senior leadership, school culture and climate, family engagement, and school operations. Saymah is a steadfast family and community advocate and her body of work serves as exemplars for building deep relationships with students, community organizations, and community leaders. Saymah received her Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Howard University.

Karen Denose

Senior Manager of Student Success
View bio

Karen Denose

Senior Manager of Student Success

Karen R. De Nose was born in Brooklyn and raised in Newark by immigrant parents. She is an ordained pastor who serves in a multilingual church in Newark, NJ, and trains youth and adults in leadership development. She enjoys developing programs that help others discover their untapped potential. Similarly, Karen is a founding Board Member of Leaders of the 21st Century whose mission is to develop civic-minded youth leaders in urban communities. In 2005, Karen graduated from Seton Hall University with a BA in Psychology and a minor in English. While attending SHU, she founded Haitian Organization Promoting Education (HOPE). In 2015, Karen earned a Master of Divinity degree from Alliance Theological Seminary with a concentration in Church Development.

our partners

You don’t have to do it all on your own. Our partners help guide students along their way to graduation and beyond.

Let’s Change Higher Education

Two ways to get started

Learn with us. Partner with us. Support us. Work with us.

Start the process, fill out the form to request information.

Tell us a bit about yourself, and a counselor will reach out within a few days.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.