Education

Compared to their high-income peers, children from low-income families are less likely to be ready to learn when entering kindergarten, less likely to be at grade level in reading and math in third grade, and less likely to enter the workforce as young adults with the skills and education needed to succeed. 

Only 8 percent of low-income students earn a college degree by the time they’re 24 years old. Students who never graduate from college are twice as likely to be unemployed, will earn half as much as college graduates, and are more likely to be in poverty as adults.

Interventions throughout the educational career of vulnerable populations can help reduce the achievement gap and promote intergenerational mobility. High-quality, external programming, from preschool to elementary summer programs to college mentoring can have a tremendous impact on long-term academic success. 

Early-stage, preventative solutions that result in improved outcomes over the long term generate short- and long-term social value and savings, from increased educational attainment to increased taxes from higher levels of employment. At Social Finance, we consider opportunities to improve educational outcomes throughout the entire spectrum of a student’s education, from early childhood to postsecondary and workforce development.

Around the country, innovative interventions target outcomes across this timeline, such as increasing grade level reading by third grade, reducing the number of high school dropouts, increasing attendance and improving academic achievement. Programming can be delivered in schools to an entire student body, in homes with students and their families, after school and over the summer in groups, to teachers and administrators and everywhere in between. We assess different approaches and interventions to find opportunities where Pay for Success may be a useful tool to scale programs.


Our Work

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Grantee Projects

Social Finance partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to provide four of its early childhood and family economic security grantees – Family Independence Initiative, the Center for Urban Families, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) and AVANCE – with rigorous economic and strategic analysis to better articulate the value they generate for society. The resulting publication, New Tools to Amplify Impact: A Pay for Success Guide to Building Nonprofit Capacity, shares lessons learned and functions as a how-to guide for nonprofits interested in Pay for Success.

Social Impact Bond Opportunities in Memphis and Shelby County

Social Finance assessed Pay for Success and Social Impact Bond opportunities in home visiting, prekindergarten education, blight, teacher training and recidivism in Memphis and Shelby County, TN.

Advancing Career and Technical Education through PFS

Social Finance is partnering with Jobs for the Future to expand access to high-quality career and technical education (CTE) programs to improve outcomes for under-served high-need youth, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education. Social Finance and Jobs for the Future will select four CTE sites to assess the feasibility of using Pay for Success to expand CTE programming, and then will support up to three sites to structure and launch PFS projects.