Bottom Line

Program basics

  • Individualized advising for low-income, first-generation students above a 2.3 GPA
  • Help with college and financial aid applications starting the summer before senior year all the way through graduation.
  • Advisers provide guidance on college selection and filling out competitive applications
  • A select group of students enrolled in specially chosen colleges are provided with further individualized campus-base support

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)

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Strong (second-highest tier)

Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development


Target population

High school-aged children

Program cost

Approximately $4,000 per offered student

Implementation locations

Dates active

1997–present

Outcomes and impact

  • Increased college enrollment
  • Increased enrollment in four-year colleges

Keys to successful implementation

  • Targeting public high schools that have particularly high guidance-counselor-to-student ratios ensures that Bottom Line is reaching students who are most in need of assistance.
  • Students early-stage participation is key to their success in the program, so established relationships with public schools, community-based organizations, and other referral partners are essential in ensuring strong "hand offs" and high levels of participant engagement from day one.
  • Close relationships with partner colleges ensure that Bottom Line advisors are able to help students find colleges well suited to their individual academic, social, and financial needs.
  • A deep organizational commitment to data, evidence, and evaluation has helped Bottom Line build trust among public and philanthropic funders, maintained program effectiveness, and enabled continuous improvement.

Bottom Line - Boston

Bottom Line - Boston

Bottom Line: Helping Boston students access and complete college

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