Ivy Tech Community College, the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, and Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), the state’s premier urban public research university, recently announced the latest results of their multi-year initiative to improve persistence rates among first-generation, low-income students.

In partnership with student success company InsideTrack, both Ivy Tech and IUPUI increased the retention rates of first-year 21st Century Scholar students by approximately 13 percentage points over the last 3 years, with improved results each year.

Now entering its fourth year, the coaching program continues to show impressive results. At Ivy Tech, where all 21st Century Scholars were coached, fall-to-fall retention has increased to 49.6 percent, from a historic average of 36.9 percent, a 34 percent improvement. IUPUI’s coaching program focused on the most “at risk” 21st Century Scholars and saw a similar increase, from a historic retention rate of 50 percent to 63 percent this fall, a 26 percent gain.

Through structured meetings and ongoing digital communication via voice, email, text messaging and interactive content, InsideTrack’s coaches help Ivy Tech and IUPUI students define their long-term goals and establish plans to graduate prepared for career success.

Coaches also support students in developing the crucial noncognitive skills needed to overcome obstacles and persist, including time management, critical thinking, and communication, as well as developing a mindset of personal accountability. In addition, institutional administrators and staff are using insights gained through the coaching process and InsideTrack’s uCoach® technology platform to support a range of operational improvement initiatives.

“Effectively supporting our increasingly diverse student population is central to our institutional mission,” said Cathy Buyarski, executive director of student success initiatives at IUPUI. “We’re proud of the substantial progress we’ve made over the last several years in partnership with InsideTrack and look forward to continuing to enhance the student experience and student outcomes even more in the years to come.”

Ivy Tech and IUPUI originally partnered with InsideTrack to develop the 21st Century Scholars Coaching Program in 2014, through an initiative coordinated by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, with support from Strada Education Network (formerly, USA Funds). The program focused on students in Indiana’s 21st Century Scholar program, a state-funded, need-based scholarship that provides up to four years of full tuition to qualifying first-generation and low-income students. Both institutions have since expanded their relationships with InsideTrack to include coaching for additional student populations and a variety of training and institutional capacity building services.

“Ivy Tech is committed to expanding opportunity for all individuals, irrespective of their socio-economic background,” said Cory Clasemann-Ryan, assistant vice president of student success at Ivy Tech Community College. “Our partnership with InsideTrack is an important component to our ongoing efforts to provide students with the support they need to reach their full potential. The results speak for themselves as we continue to work toward closing the achievement gap and enabling all of our students to reach even greater heights.”

Since 2001, InsideTrack has provided coaching to more than 1.5 million prospects, students, and alumni across more than 1,600 academic programs nationwide, with a track record of improving outcomes and performance. Their adaptive coaching methodology, skilled coaches, and uCoach technology and analytics platform are proven to increase student success and generate valuable insights that assist institutional leaders in making more data-driven decisions, said the company.

“Ivy Tech and IUPUI have been steadfast in their commitment to institutional improvement and pulling out all of the stops to help their students succeed,” said Jessica Hector, associate vice president of client partnerships at InsideTrack. “As an organization dedicated to unlocking human potential and supporting all students in graduating prepared for choice-filled lives, we are honored to be working alongside such compassionate and capable partners.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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