nudging to college completion

Persistence Plus increases community college student retention by 10 percentage points.

Persistence Plus increases graduation rates for students most at risk by 6 percentage points.

Persistence Plus increases persistence for online students by 11 percentage points.

What we do

Persistence Plus brings the idea of the nudge to higher education to increase retention. Grounded in behavioral science, our nudges help students achieve academic goals, reframe obstacles, seek help from campus resources, and navigate the path to graduation.

With Persistence Plus, students receive personalized, interactive nudges over text message 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 about their goals, challenges and college experience. The end result is that Persistence Plus delivers the right nudge to the right student 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 complete in three years. Colleges need a better way to provide personalized support at scale.

Our Services

We design and deliver research-based nudges that increase persistence for specific student populations. Here are just a few examples – talk to us about your student support priorities.

First Year

Ease the transition for new and first-generation students.

Near Completers

Support students late in college to the finish line.


Keep students on the path to STEM degrees and careers.

Online Students

Help online learners feel connected to college.

Our Partners

Our partners include community colleges, four-year colleges, online institutions, and nonprofit organizations. Here's a sample 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.


The Persistence Plus team combines expertise in higher education, behavioral science, and technology and shares a passion for increasing equity and economic mobility.

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.

Serena Fahnbulleh Crain

Program Operations Lead
Serena works with partner colleges to support implementation of the Persistence Plus model. She worked previously in college admissions, helping community college students transfer and pursue STEM degrees. A first-gen college goer, she holds a M.S.Ed from University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

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 student success. 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.

In the news

Get in touch

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