Designed for broad access, requiring only a 2.0 GPA to apply, the Undergraduate College at NLU (formerly known as Pathways) aims to provide students who may not otherwise attend or succeed in a traditional four-year university with the support and skills necessary to both graduate college as well as succeed in the workforce. In addition to being accessible, NLU is affordable, offers a convenient and predictable schedule, and provides critical supports such as success coaches, embedded career preparation, and robust wraparound services.
Why We Invested
A Better Chicago first invested in NLU in 2016 because of its innovative approach to addressing the most critical barriers to bachelor’s degree attainment among students who have traditionally been excluded from accessing or succeeding at four-year institutions. We continue to be compelled by NLU’s ongoing innovations and its commitment to serving students through various supports. Its leadership team and operations are strong, and we anticipate growth will continue following the brief stall caused by the pandemic.
Given the challenges of the current learning environment, NLU will continue to innovate its programming to meet students’ needs, like building a more holistic and integrated approach to strengthening students’ writing skills, restructuring its academic and career coaching models, introducing new majors, and launching an honors program. The organization will also launch a new strategy to recruit and support students transferring from two-year colleges. NLU will prioritize growth and innovation for its educator preparation program, including additional offerings for secondary and early childhood student educators.
- Leadership Development: Pathways at NLU’s (Pathways) leadership team participated in Leading for Impact®, a cohort-driven leadership development program run by the Bridgespan group. A Better Chicago covered 75 percent of the fees.
- Brand Strategy: Pathways worked with a consultant to develop a university brand strategy to support its marketing and communications efforts. A Better Chicago helped scope the project and covered 75 percent of the fees.