Student Leadership Network’s (SLN) key program is CollegeBound Initiative (CBI), a high-touch college guidance and access program that places highly-trained, full-time college counselors in partnering Title I New York City high schools. While CBI continues to yield impressive college enrollment results – since 2001, CBI has achieved a cumulative college enrollment rate of 89%, with 74% of students enrolling in four-year colleges – there is a critical need to address the drop off that occurs during the college years.
We supported SLN in extending their high-tough, near-peer coaching model into the first year of college as a preventative measure to address common challenges and better set students up for success. The Bridge Through College program focuses on four key drivers for college persistence: 1) FAFSA renewal; 2) financial planning and problem solving, 3) strategic academic advisement; and, 4) campus connection and commitment. In year one of this initiative, which was piloted at two CUNY campuses – Hunter College and Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) – Bridge Through College’s intervention substantially improves college persistence outcomes among the alumni. Hunter students persisted at a rate 8% higher than non-participating CBI peers. At BMCC, the improvement was even more dramatic, with BMCC students persisting at a rate 14% higher than non-participating CBI peers.