College Counsel for the Poor

Josh Mitchell:

Erin Kelley grew up poor with parents who never went to college, but she is about to do something only 11% of Americans like her do: earn a degree.

The Boston College senior is the latest success story of Bottom Line, which counsels disadvantaged youth on how to get into college—and graduate. About 80% of the nonprofit’s clients earn a degree. And in an era of skyrocketing college costs and debate about the value of higher education, they typically leave with relatively little debt and a job waiting for them.

The work of Bottom Line, and other groups that provide intensive counseling, is increasingly being studied by academics seeking to boost the prospects of low-income, first-generation college students.