using behavioral science to increase college completion

What we do

Persistence Plus brings the idea of the nudge – an approach used to motivate people to exercise, vote, and recycle – to higher education. Our nudges help students achieve goals, reframe obstacles, take advantage of campus resources and stay on the path to graduation.

With Persistence Plus, students receive personalized, interactive messages over text message or on our mobile app to support them on the path to success. Nudges are personalized to the student's profile, the college context and the real-time responses that the student shares regarding their goals, challenges and college experience. The end result is that Persistence Plus delivers the right nudges to the right students at the right time.

  • First-year support

    Help students navigate the rocky transition to college.

  • Online lifeline

    Build a sense of community for online learners.

  • Focus on equity

    Boost students of color, first-generation college-goers, and former foster youth toward their college dreams.

  • Nudging to careers

    Help propel students to and through career technical programs and good jobs.

Fewer than 6 in 10 students seeking a bachelor's degree graduate within six years. At community colleges, fewer than 3 in 10 graduate in three years. Colleges need a better way to provide personalized support at scale.

Our Impact

Our behavioral nudging model increases college persistence, especially for the students least likely to graduate.

Connecting to Help

Students are 5x more likely to seek tutoring.

Academic Success

A 14 percentage point higher pass rate in introductory math courses.

Increased Equity

12 percentage point greater persistence for first-generation students.

Greater persistence

6 percentage point increase in year-to-year persistence across the freshman class.

Our Partners

Our partners include community colleges, four-year schools and nonprofit organizations. Here are just a few of them.

What Students Say

We love what we do, but we think our students describe Persistence Plus best.

Read our white paper on how behavioral nudges can help more college students graduate.


In 2011, founders Jill Frankfort and Dr. Kenny Salim brought the nudge to higher education to help more students graduate from college. As Kauffman Foundation Education Ventures fellows, they combined behavioral science, data analytics and mobile technology to put support directly in the hands of students. Today, Persistence Plus serves thousands of students at hundreds of colleges on their journey to a degree.

Jill Frankfort

Co-founder & President
Jill helps colleges transform how they support, engage and motivate students to completion. Previously a director at Jobs for the Future, Jill holds degrees in education from Brown University and Wake Forest University.

Margaret Jaques-Leslie

Director of Operations
Margaret leads implementation of the Persistence Plus model at partner colleges and college access organizations. She previously led course content development strategy at Cengage Learning and holds an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Greg Kirkpatrick

Senior Developer
Greg leads the development of a scalable, robust and intelligent technology platform that can support millions of students to college completion. He has been developing ed tech and gaming startups for 20 years.

Cecilia Le

Director of Strategic Engagement
Cecilia works with colleges, nonprofits and foundations to build partnerships that leverage behavioral science to support students. She has worked on the national and community level to increase college completion, with roles at Jobs for the Future, Match Education and Youth Uprising.

Ross O’Hara, Ph.D.

Behavioral Researcher
Ross develops nudging interventions to foster the mindsets and behaviors that lead to college success. He earned his Ph.D. in social psychology from Dartmouth College and has served as a researcher, professor, and undergraduate mentor.

Betsy Sparrow, Ph.D.

Behavioral Researcher
Betsy uses data and findings from behavioral research to motivate students to persist in college. A first-generation college goer, she taught as a professor at Columbia University and Williams College and as a grad student at Harvard University, where she earned her Ph.D. in social psychology.

Shahrukh Tarapore

Technologist in Residence
Shahrukh shapes the Persistence Plus technology platform to be both highly personalized and highly scalable. He has over 15 years of experience designing and building useful and delightful software products.

Get in touch

We would love to talk or give you a demo of what we can do.