BOTTOM LINE CHICAGO HELPS STUDENTS GET INTO COLLEGE

Kyra Harvey is a sophomore at DePaul University. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BOTTOM LINE.
Kyra Harvey is a sophomore at DePaul University. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BOTTOM LINE.

 Bottom Line Chicago helps students get into college

BY TIA CAROL JONES

Kyra Harvey is now a sophomore at DePaul University where she is studying animation, with hopes to create her own animated series and movies and have her own studio.

“Bottom Line has been there to support me through two of my biggest scholarship needs,” Kyra said.

Bottom Line believes a college degree is key to community development, household wealth and income increase. Its goal is to help students of color
make a transformational change in their lives through Post Secondary education.

Bottom Line has been working with students, beginning their senior year of high school, in Chicago for eight years. It provides one-on-one support, coaching and mentoring to get them into college. It helps students decide what is the most affordable option for college and where the student sees themselves thriving. Bottom Line continues with the students up to six
years while they are in college and helping them build a career readiness plan and through graduation.

In Chicago, Bottom Line has partnered with 2,500 students. Five hundred of them have completed their Bachelor’s Degree.

“We know that there are talented, motivated students from communities that have been left behind through systemic racism and other barriers, and we are committed to changing those outcomes and changing those narratives,” said Will Hobart, Executive Director of Bottom Line Chicago.

Bottom Line received $15 million from MacKenzie Scott. Hobart said the gift served as a vote of confidence and validated their work, partnering with
talented students with big dreams one-on-one it can have a transformational impact on their lives. The hope is the grant will assist Bottom Line in helping
more students in its existing markets – Chicago, Boston and New York – while also expanding to more parts of the country.

Hobart said that an independent research report found that students in Bottom Line are 23% more likely to graduate with their Bachelor’s Degree within four years than students who are not in the program. It spoke to the profound impact Bottom Line has on students in the program.

“How can we bring the evidence of the impact of our work to those communities to be a catalyst for transformational change there? This gift will really provide the financial resources to get what has been big dreams of our organization for a long time and put them into motion,” Hobart said.

When it comes to retention and graduation of the students in Bottom Line, helping students to find a school that is a financial right fit is important. Bottom Line realizes that the college process is cumbersome,
with a lot of different things to consider, but as the students navigate through college, if they have a choice that is affordable there are fewer roadblocks to
graduation. Once those students graduate, having an affordable college choice, puts them on a path where they can manage their debt payment and they can invest in other things, for example buying a home.

“We’re so proud of Kyra for the scholarships and things she’s earned. She’s just one example of many that we have, for whom we are able to help connect the vision for what they want to do and financial support and scholarships to help make that happen,” Hobart said, adding that Bottom Line values the champions who help the students make the critical
career connections and employ the students after they graduate from college.

For more information about Bottom Line, visit bottomline.org.tomline.org.

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