Success Boston Coaching was implemented in the Boston, Massachusetts metro area. Partners included The Boston Foundation, the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, the University of Massachusetts Boston, Bunker Hill Community College, other regional colleges and universities, uAspire, the Boston Private Industry Council, and other local nonprofit organizations. During the 2015–16 and 2016–17 academic year, students included in the study received coaching from eight nonprofit coaching organizations: Boston Private Industry Council, Bottom Line, College Bound Dorchester, Freedom House, Hyde Square Task Force, Sociedad Latina, the Steppingstone Foundation, and West End House. A national nonprofit, uAspire, delivered financial aid advising to students and professional development for coaches. The majority of students (74 percent) attended one of eleven colleges: Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Bridgewater State University, Bunker Hill Community College, Framingham State University, Massachusetts Bay Community College, Northeastern University, Roxbury Community College, Salem State University, Suffolk University, University of Massachusetts Boston, and Wentworth Institute of Technology.
The study sample was comprised of 42 percent African-American students, 31 percent Hispanic students, 17 percent Asian students, and eight percent White students. On average, students were 18 years old at baseline. Sixty percent of the sample were female, 10 percent were English learners, 11 percent had an Individualized Education Plan, and 74 percent received free or reduced-price lunch.
Nonprofit coaching organizations recruited Boston Public School graduates who were transitioning to college, and partnered with local colleges to coordinate coaching for students who qualify and enroll in Success Boston Coaching. Students and coaches connected in-person both on and off-campus using text messaging, email, or phone. Throughout the academic year, coaches provided students with ongoing, one-on-one support on academic, financial, career, and personal topics. For example, coaches offered on-demand guidance to help prepare students to navigate the college environment and become increasingly independent. Coaches also provided one-on-one support on life skills, study skills, help-seeking strategies, and academic skills. They helped students develop meaningful relationships, clarify goals, access networks, and understand college culture. Coaches also provided job and career mentoring as needed. Throughout the intervention, partner colleges communicated with coaches and help coordinate coaching services on their campuses. The Success Boston Coaching network, which The Boston Foundation oversaw, facilitated communication across organizations and provided coaches access to specialized training about financial aid from uAspire, a national nonprofit organization, as well as access to training on other topics.
Students in the comparison group had access to traditional college support services but not the coaching and support offered by the eight nonprofit organizations involved in Success Boston Coaching.
Support for implementation
The Boston Foundation oversaw the Success Boston Coaching network that facilitates communication across the initiative. The network also provided coaches access to specialized training about financial aid from uAspire, a national nonprofit organization, as well as access to training on other topics.