Catalytic Giving

Bottom Line

We initiated and funded the first “pay for success” college persistence program in New York which involves Bottom Line and Lehman College, a senior college of The City University of New York. Bottom Line will provide college persistence services at Lehman College and, if certain benchmarks are reached, Lehman College and the Office of the Mayor of New York City have agreed to pay part of the costs of the services. The goal is to build out this cost-sharing model with additional college partners to ensure sustainability and to increase student reach while maintaining high-quality services.

Bottom Line fills a gaping hole in the suite of college-focused programs in New York City by focusing on successful college completion in addition to college access support. Bottom Line targets mid-achieving students who are not necessarily accessing top-tier institutions of higher education. These students are realizing exceptional college persistence rates thanks to Bottom Line’s hands-on guidance at its 21 partner colleges in or near New York City.

Since launching in 2011, Bottom Line has achieved remarkable success:

  • 78% of all students in the College Success Program have graduated from college or are on track to graduate within six years.
  • Cohorts currently in college are on track to cut the expected attrition rate in half for the students Bottom Line serves, with the first cohort hitting an 85% graduation rate.
  • Alumni average student loan debt in New York is $12,910 while the state average is $32,200.

Researchers have shown that the Bottom Line model is demonstrating significant and consistent impact on college enrollment and persistence for first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds. Additionally, this research found substantial increases in continuous enrollment that grow over time.