Success Boston is Boston’s citywide college completion initiative. Together, the Boston Foundation, the Boston Public Schools (BPS), the City of Boston, 37 area institutions of higher education led by UMass Boston and Bunker Hill Community College and local nonprofit partners are working to double the college completion rate for students from the BPS.

Students at Kickoff

Success Boston was launched in 2008 in response to a longitudinal study by Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies, which showed that only 35% of those who had enrolled in college ever completed an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree by the time they turned 25. Even as enrollment rates had steadily increased, completion rates had not. Together, the partner organizations implemented a four-part strategy: Getting Ready, Getting In, Getting Through, and Getting Connected—to ensure our youth are prepared to meet the challenges of higher education and achieve a degree that will allow them to thrive in the workplace.


  • Getting In:  Help students apply to, select, enroll in, and transition through the first two years at 2- and 4-year institutions of higher education. The Boston Foundation leads the getting in work, and supports a network of nonprofit organizations that engage and provide services to students, particularly first generation, low-income students of color.

  • Getting Through:  Ensure students receive the supports necessary to earn a degree prepared to enter the workforce. Thirty-seven local higher education institutions committed to lead the Getting Through strategies, and have expanded campus-based supports for students.

  • Success Boston pane
  • Getting Connected: Engage employers in college completion efforts: with summer jobs, internships, career advising, and other opportunities that will expose students to employment pathways and new career fields. This is the newest strategy of Success Boston, and is led by the Boston Private Industry Council.

Success Boston Results


Increase in 2nd year persistence rates for coached students compared with students without coaches


6-Year College Completion Rate for BPS graduates  from the Class of 2011


Boston students have received coaching since 2009

The Boston Foundation has committed more than $1M per year to this initiative, and today the six-year college completion rate stands at 52% for BPS graduates from the Class of 2011. Over 6,000 Boston students have received coaching since 2009. According to independent analysis, students who are coached are 11 percent more likely to persist to the second year and 21 percent more likely to persist to the third year of college than their peers without coaches.