Competitive EDUCAUSE Grant Bolsters MCCC Student Success Efforts‏

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA —Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is one of only 24 institutions in the country to be awarded up to $225,000 in funding from EDUCAUSE as part of a recent grant competition designed to help two- and four-year colleges and universities develop integrated approaches to student success.

The grant initiative, called Integrated Planning & Advising for Student Success (IPASS), was created with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Participating institutions are required to launch or continue their development of comprehensive IPASS technologies by 2018, with the goal of increasing year-to-year student retention by at least 10 percent.

At Montgomery, the grant will build on the institution’s recent efforts to redesign student advising and educational planning through its Integrated Planning and Advising Services (IPAS) initiative, supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“The goal of IPAS is for every new degree-seeking student to complete education, financial and career plans within his or her first semester at the College, and that these plans will lead to improved retention, progression and completion,” explained Dr. Celeste Schwartz, vice president for information technology and college services at MCCC.

Introduced by MCCC in 2014, IPAS employs a variety of technology solutions to connect students with their support teams—faculty, advisors, support services—and map out their educational plans, while allowing faculty and advisors to provide early/regular feedback and referrals. The redesigned advising process also requires all first-time students to meet with an advisor prior to registering for classes.

“Early indicators from the College’s efforts as an IPAS round one recipient are promising,” said Schwartz. “Montgomery has seen an institutional culture shift in its approach to advising students and is experiencing greater engagement of faculty in our collective student success initiatives.”

The EDUCAUSE grant will enable MCCC to extend its educational planning platform to include career and financial planning, as well as to deepen its use of predictive analytics in order to develop more customized interventions for at-risk students and student success.

All projects in the EDUCAUSE IPASS grant challenge focus on three broad student-facing outcomes: education planning, counseling and coaching, and risk targeting and intervention. The projects will undergo rigorous, third-party analysis of student outcomes and return on investment, led by the Community College Research Center at Teachers College of Columbia University. Outcomes from all 24 participating institutions will be shared nationally in order to accelerate the adoption of IPASS systems.

EDUCAUSE is a non-profit association and the foremost community of IT leaders and professional committed to advancing higher education. EDUCAUSE programs and services are focused on analysis, advocacy, community building, professional development and knowledge creation because IT plays a transformative role in higher education. EDUCAUSE supports those who lead, manage and use information technology through a comprehensive range of resources and activities. For more information, visit educause.edu.

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