Pathways at NLU

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  • Investment to Date $1.5M
  • Students Served 1,477
  • Grantee Since 2017
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The mission of Pathways at NLU (Pathways) is to provide a rigorous, technology-enhanced, and affordable college education in a supportive environment that respects diversity to help all students meet and surpass their personal, academic, and career goals. The model was designed to provide all students with the skills necessary to succeed in the workforce through a flexible and supportive approach. 

Grantee Performance

Why We Invested

Pathways at NLU (Pathways) provides critical wraparound supports that empower first- generation college students and students from low-income backgrounds to earn a bachelor’s degree. Today, only 39 percent of comparable Chicago Public Schools (CPS) graduates who enroll in a four-year institution will earn a bachelor’s degree within six years. Through a student-centered model that provides an affordable, structured, and supportive environment, Pathways is working to close the bachelor’s degree attainment gap between students from low-income backgrounds and their higher income peers. 

Leading Pathways is Aarti Dhupelia as National Louis University’s Vice President of Undergraduate Education. Dhupelia is an experienced education leader with the unique ability to manage both people and outcomes. With her at the helm, we are confident that Pathways can accelerate students’ academic performance and continue to scale. 

Looking Ahead

Pathways at NLU (Pathways) has grown from an initial cohort of 82 students to being the program model of the entire undergraduate college serving 1,477 students. In the process, they have become a financially self-sustaining program and maintained strong leadership and operations. In addition, the team has continued to innovate on the model through added career and mental health supports, broader access to tuition assistance, and increased engagement in peer support and affinity groups. 

Our Impact

  • 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.