Impact Rating

Per Scholas

Top Poverty Nonprofit

Impact: $8,000 increases the earnings of a low­-income adult by $13,000.

WorkAdvance meets the benchmark for high cost-effectiveness. The nonprofit increases income for a beneficiary by more than $1.50 for every $1 spent.

Note: The impact of this program may not be representative of the entire operation of Per Scholas.


Governance: Passes checks


Per Scholas' mission is to open doors to technology careers for individuals from often overlooked communities. We envision a future where individuals from any community can access well-paying career positions, and where talent is recognized and recruited from many diverse sources. Our formula is simple: We partner with the largest IT employers and learn everything we can about the jobs they need to fill. Then we invest in talented young people and adults who can effectively use our free, high-quality job training and support services: first to get those jobs, and then advance in them. Since 1995, Per Scholas has trained more than 7,000 individuals, helping them build successful careers in technology and spurring economic development in their communities.



Rated Program


Program Geography

6 states in the U.S.


Bronx, NY


Donations processed by the nonprofit.



Rated Program


Program Geography

6 states in the U.S.


Bronx, NY


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Rated Program




Per Scholas provides free, high­-quality job training and support services to talented young people. Per Scholas then partners with large I.T. employers to place graduates in jobs.

Program Type

Workforce Training

Beneficiaries Served

People living in poverty


6 states in the U.S.

Outcomes: Changes in people's lives. They can be caused by a nonprofit.

Costs: The money spent by nonprofits and their partners and beneficiaries.

Impact: The cost to achieve an outcome.

Cost-effectiveness: A judgment as to whether the cost was "worth" the outcome.


Outcome Metric

Increase in earnings for a low-income adult.

To calculate impact, we estimate how many outcomes the nonprofit caused.

Data Source

Outcome data collected through the research organization M.D.R.C for a study funded by the Social Innovation Fund. M.D.R.C. conducted the evaluation, collecting baseline data and three­ year follow­-up data through surveying, administrative data and other sources.

Time Period of Data

June 1, 2011, to June 30, 2014

Ratings are based on data the nonprofit itself collects on its work. We use the most recent year with sufficient data. Typically, this data allows us to calculate direct changes in participants' lives, such as increased income.

Method for Attributing Outcomes

WorkAdvance’s impact was measured using a random assignment design, often referred to as the "gold standard" in evaluation. Randomization ensures there are no systematic differences between participants and the control group they are compared to.

To determine causation, we take the outcomes we observe and subtract an estimate of the outcomes that would have happened even without the program.


Data Source

Cost data reported by Per Scholas and data and assumptions about partner and beneficiary costs.

All monetary costs are counted, whether they are borne by a nonprofit service deliverer or by the nonprofit’s public and private partners.


Impact Statement

$8,000 increases the earnings of a low­-income adult by $13,000.

We calculate impact, defined as the change in outcomes attributable to a program divided by the cost to achieve those outcomes.


Benchmark for Rating

Impact ratings of workforce training programs are based on income generated relative to cost. Programs receive 5 stars if they increase income for a beneficiary by more than $1.50 for every $1 spent and 4 stars if income increases by more than $0.85 for every $1 spent. If a nonprofit reports impact but doesn't meet the benchmark for cost-effectiveness, it earns 3 stars.


The nonprofit increases income for a beneficiary by more than $1.50 for every $1 spent.

Why We Could Be Wrong

We welcome your suggestions for improving our methodology. Our methodology section includes explanations of how we mitigate these issues.

  • The outcome could oversimplify total impact. Using “increased earnings” as the metric of analysis may not intuitively convey the potential downstream benefits of participating in a workforce training program, such as reduced financial stress.
  • There could be multiple important outcomes not captured in our analysis.
  • Per Scholas may be spending additional money in order to serve harder-to-reach and/or particularly valuable populations.
  • In the absence of better data, we assume uniform counterfactual rates for programs, at the risk of masking variation across nonprofits.
  • Our estimates rely on data made public by Per Scholas on its website, annual reports, financial statements and Form 990s.
  • We only analyze programs that meet our criteria. As a result, this report may not fully reflect the impact of Per Scholas.
  • We do not assess what explains the nonprofit's cost-effectiveness.

We assign a rating to the nonprofit using the rubric:

  • There are indications of governance or financial health issues at the nonprofit.

  • After being given an opportunity, the nonprofit chose not to publish impact information.

    We are not yet issuing this level of star rating.

  • The rated program does not meet our benchmark for cost-effectiveness.

  • The rated program is cost-effective.

  • The rated program is highly cost-effective.

Read More

Nonprofit Comment

Not provided. This may be because we lacked contact information for Per Scholas or it chose not to comment. If you are a representative of this nonprofit, contact us to review and comment on your rating.

Before publishing, we ask every nonprofit we can to review our work, offer corrections and provide a comment.

Analysis Details

Analysis conducted by ImpactMatters and published on November 22, 2019.

This rating is based on data reported by Per Scholas using ImpactMatters' impact reporting platform. Using data from the platform, ImpactMatters analysts calculated impact and assigned a rating.

We welcome corrections. If you are interested in exploring applications of ImpactMatters data, contact us at

Governance Check

Per Scholas passes our governance check.

Conducted a financial audit

Overhead spending is reasonable (<35% of total spending)

Charity Navigator has not issued a fraud or mismanagement advisory

Per Scholas itself has not reported any material diversions of assets

Per Scholas itself has not reported any excess benefit transactions

Source: Per Scholas Form 990 and Charity Navigator

How We Calculate Impact

This rating is based on ImpactMatters analysis of the impact of WorkAdvance relative to costs. Impact is the change in the social outcomes of people served by the program, net of the change that would have happened even without the program (the “counterfactual”); divided by cost. Learn more.

For Donors

A guide to our process for analyzing nonprofits and assigning ratings.

For Nonprofits

Learn about best practices for reporting impact for different program types.

For Researchers

Our collected guidelines on how we analyze impact of nonprofit programs.

Rating is a complex exercise and we urge you to read our frequently asked questions for details of how and why we issue these ratings.