Increasing student success has moved high on the priority list at many institutions of higher education in the last five plus years. In their latest articulation of their vision, institutions have framed specific outcomes in student success. They have issued calls to action to measurably improve the institutional capability to help students complete their education. These student success efforts are long-term commitments on the part of an institution and should not be seen as “initiatives” or “projects” that can be completed within a year—or even two or three. To be effective in helping students complete what they have started, a student success approach must be ongoing and multi-faceted.

For the last five plus years, several dozen institutions have been working on student success efforts in a movement referred to as iPASS, which has been funded by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The acronym stands for “Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success,” a concept also popularly called technology-enabled advising. In simple English it involves leveraging technology in support of advising transformation that in turn supports students in a more holistic way to achieve their goals.

IPASS has focused on three main areas: Degree Planning, Coaching and Advising, and Early Alert and Risk Targeting.

In addition to a very strong emphasis on transforming the way advising is done on campuses, which has been no simple task, the technology-enabled advising approach has propelled institutions to deploy the following technologies:

About the Author:

Nancy Millichap has worked for EDUCAUSE since 2011 in support of three initiatives with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Each program involved uses new technologies in combination with collaboration and process change to improve outcomes for undergraduate students, particularly those from low-income households and underrepresented groups.

As director for professional learning, Ana Borray, MA leads a team that is responsible for the EDUCAUSE Institute and all other face-to-face programs that support the professional development of higher education IT professionals. Ana joined EDUCAUSE in 2015 to lead the efforts of the IPASS grant that focuses on student success initiatives to drive an increase in completion rates for all students pursuing a higher education credential.


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