We have long supported Bottom Line’s college success program in catalytic ways, which has allowed for its steady growth; it now serves over 2,500 first-generation New York City college students who come from low-income backgrounds and are attending a select group of four-year CUNY, SUNY, and private colleges. Our grants have included catalytic board match challenges as well as the first “pay for success” college persistence program in New York, which involved Bottom Line and Lehman College, a senior college of The City University of New York (CUNY). In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, CUNY pulled out of the effort, but not before we had convinced the Office of the Mayor of New York City to pay for part of the costs of the 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:
- 79% 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.