Nonprofit working to improve college outcomes pairs with Dayton Public



Bottom Line, a nonprofit that works with first-generation students from under-resourced backgrounds get into and graduate from college, will partner with Dayton Public Schools

While Bottom Line bills themselves as a way to get more students into high paying jobs, there is another aspect to their work. More jobs now require college degrees, and the population of K-12 students in Ohio has shrunk. Ohio has also attracted a significant number of technology companies who need workers.

To get those workers, Ohio will have to train at least some of them here, and will need to target populations that haven’t traditionally been tapped to go to college.

In a Dayton Public Schools meeting on Feb. 13, Sherry Gale, director of College Credit Plus and scholarships at Dayton Public, said Bottom Line would be working with students with a range of GPAs between 2.3 and 2.9. The student will also need to be a first-generation college student, graduating in 2025, and meet the income guidelines that Bottom Line and DPS set up.

For example, a family of four would need to make less than $80,000 for a student from their family to qualify, according to the MOU, and a student whose family made less than $60,000 was more likely to qualify.

Dayton Public doesn’t have to pay Bottom Line for their services. According to the memorandum of understanding between Bottom Line and DPS, the district will need to provide space for Bottom Line to recruit and work with students.

The first cohort of students will be in fall 2024 and applications are now open. Students can apply at

“Bottom Line is committed to working not just in the state of Ohio, not just in the Dayton region but absolutely first and foremost with Dayton Public,” Gale said. “And I think they will hire as many people as they need for as many students as we have.”

The district has a target of 210 applications to get 100 students into the program the first year, Gale said.

“Not all 200 folks who want to do it are going to be able to do it because of who this this program targets,” Gale said.

Dayton Public Schools superintendent David Lawrence said the opportunity is a way to provide support systems for students.

“Through advising, FAFSA assistance, and college advising and support for up to six years after they leave high school, Bottom Line is going to make a tremendous impact on the futures of Dayton Public Schools students,” Lawrence said in a statement.

Bottom Line plans to work with other school districts, including Mad River Local and Trotwood-Madison.

Board member Eric Walker asked in a Feb. 13 meeting what resources were available for the students who had below a 2.3 GPA. Lawrence said the students with below a 2.3 are working with their building staff to improve their grades.

Walker also asked if there would be a breakdown provided of the students who took advantage of the program to make sure it was equitable, which Lawrence said he would provide.

“I’m excited for this project to move forward in the district,” Walker said.

The board of education unanimously voted in favor of Bottom Line coming into the district.

Bottom Line started in Boston and expanded into New York City and Chicago. In late 2023, they expanded into Dayton with a $2.8 million donation over five years from the Connor Group – Kids & Community Partners.

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