Bottom Line’s mission is to help low-income, first generation students get in to college, graduate from college, and go far in life. This nationally renowned program has been coaching low-income students across the finish line with a college degree since 1997. Last year 98% of Bottom Line students were accepted to a 4-year college and 84% successfully earned a bachelor’s degree. This rate exceeds attainment levels for all 4-year college students and is more than four times the rate of Chicago Public high school graduates. The program delivers intrusive, one-on-one advising and support from application through graduation from college using its innovative DEAL model. Through this personalized approach, more than 1,300 students have earned a bachelor’s degree and are pursuing careers to pull their families out of poverty.
Bottom Line has demonstrated that all students – regardless of their family income or zip code – can achieve success in college and career through hard work, responsible choices, and personalized support. The program is built on the belief that ensuring a critical mass of low-income, first generation students earn a college degree can be a powerful engine for transforming urban communities and breaking the cycle of poverty. What began as a small non-profit organization supporting 25 high school seniors in Boston has grown into a nationally recognized college completion program impacting more than 5,000 students from across Massachusetts, New York, and now Chicago. Bottom Line started out of 1871 and opened its Chicago office in July 2014. It plans to scale its services to serve 2,500 students by 2020.