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College Caps

College Success Initiative

The College Success Initiative (CSI) is comprised of City, non-profit and higher education partners. It serves Cambridge students and families who are underrepresented in higher education, including immigrant students, first-generation college students, and students from households with low incomes. CSI is designed to support students in completing a post-secondary degree within 6 years and to coordinate a community of partners committed to the persistence of Cambridge students.

Students are referred to CSI through Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS), the Community Learning Center’s Bridge to College Program, and Just-A-Start’s YouthBuild program.

CSI connects students to:

  • College access programs operated by community-based agencies, connected to one another through the CSI network.
  • City, publicly-funded, and local non-profit programs - that provide housing resources, employment resources, and more - to help remove non-academic barriers to their success.
  • Guidance for navigating institutional systems and appropriate academic support contacts in collaboration with CSI’s higher education and community partners.
  • College Success Coaches who support students enrolled at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and UMass Boston (UMB), the two higher education institutions that receive the highest amount of CRLS graduates. College Success Coaches:
    • Help students navigate the stresses of the transition to college.
    • Connect students with institutional resources, including financial aid assistance, social activities, and academic advising.
    • Provide both academic and non-academic support, referring students to community resources, including the MBTA Youth Pass Program, SNAP benefits, tax filing assistance, housing resources, and more.

Student Resources

CSI Bunker Hill Community College Student Calendar 2023-2024

CSI UMass Boston Student Calendar 2023-2024

Cambridge Promise Pilot

The Cambridge Promise Pilot will allow eligible students enrolled at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and supported by CSI to receive a “last dollar plus scholarship,” which includes free tuition and fees for the 2023-2024 academic year. In addition to the free tuition and fees, the program will also pay for school-related expenses not covered by a student’s Pell Grant and outside scholarships, and provide an additional $250 each semester. Learn more: www.cambridgema.gov/CambridgePromise

2023 First Generation College Graduates Celebration

College Success Initiative First Generation Graduates - 2023

The First-Generation College Graduates Celebration honors and acknowledges the first-generation college graduates supported by the City of Cambridge College Success Initiative. The 2023 event, held in June, celebrated the accomplishments of 17 college graduates from UMass Boston and Bunker Hill Community College.

The annual event is hosted by College Success Initiative in collaboration with Work Force, Enroot, and the Mayor’s Office.

View Slideshow

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was CSI created?

Post-secondary education completion data from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education indicates that Cambridge students who are low-income matriculate to college at very high rates, but that the rate of degree attainment is significantly lower for these students than for their higher-income peers. Data also shows that college persistence rates are lower for students of color than for white students.

The College Success Initiative was created by a coalition of partners as a response to the significant need for Cambridge’s lower-income high school students, first-generation college students, immigrants, students underrepresented in higher education, and adult learners to plan for and complete higher education in order to attain satisfying careers and financial stability.

In addition to an educational success strategy, supporting students through degree attainment is a successful workforce development strategy. The College Success Initiative helps residents develop the skills required to earn a living wage in Cambridge and the region.

How does CSI work with the Cambridge community?

CSI serves as the umbrella for organizations committed to the success of students who are low-income, first generation to college, or persons of color.  College access programs operated by community-based agencies are connected to one another through the CSI network. Additionally, CSI connects students to City, publicly-funded, and local non-profit programs to help remove non-academic barriers to their success such as loss of housing, lack of employment, and more. Lastly, in collaboration with our higher education partners, CSI provides guidance for navigating institutional systems and connecting students to appropriate academic support personnel.

City of Cambridge and Publicly-Funded Programs:


Non-Profit Partners:


High Education Partners:

*Partner programs Enroot and Cambridge Housing Authority's Workforce Program also provide coaching support to their students, who are enrolled at a variety of colleges. 

Learn how the College Success Initiative impacted the life of Carlos, a first-generation college student and the son of a single mother from Colombia:


                    Mira en Español. 


Tawanya R. Garrett
Director, College Success Initiative
College Success Initiative Logo

CSI is based out of the City of Cambridge Department of Human Service Programs and operates Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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