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Kristi DePaul
Marketing Manager

24 Institutions in 19 states selected by EDUCAUSE to receive funding

SEPTEMBER 8, 2015 – EDUCAUSE has announced the results of its recent grant competition, Integrated Planning & Advising for Student Success (iPASS) in higher education, which awarded grants of up to $225,000 to 24 institutions from across the country. Created with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the initiative will help two-and four-year higher education institutions launch comprehensive iPASS technologies by 2018.

This new integrative approach to student success promotes shared ownership for educational progress among students, faculty, and staff, encompassing services that help students formulate and advance toward educational goals. iPASS includes tech-enabled advising, counseling, progress tracking, and academic early alerts.

“Institutions of higher education are facing greater challenges than ever before; many are working to decrease costs while delivering high-quality programs to a growing and increasingly diverse student body,” EDUCAUSE President and CEO John O’Brien said.

Over the course of their three-year projects, grantee institutions aim for at least a 10 percentage point increase in year-to-year student retention. Program results will be shared broadly to accelerate adoption of iPASS systems.

“This reality demands that institutions embrace new models for monitoring and improving student performance, and I am convinced that iPASS systems can be a student success game-changer,” O’Brien noted. “EDUCAUSE recognizes these challenges and will provide three years of financial, technical, and change-management support to the selected colleges and universities as they focus on student success through investing in iPASS.”

Grantees also will receive access to technology vendors and consultants in technology integration and business process redesign. Their plans 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, a partner in this initiative.

Of the grantees, 20 are funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the remaining four are funded by the Helmsley Trust for iPASS implementations that will focus specifically on students in STEM disciplines. Achieving the Dream, another partner organization, will provide technical assistance to these Helmsley Trust-funded grantees as well as 11 other two- and four-year institutions.

Successful applicants were expected to have rolled out at least part of their iPASS system(s) prior to applying for funding and will now focus on deploying each of the following broad, student-facing functions that improve on current technology and services in three areas:

  • Education planning: Guiding students to select courses and programs of study that are most efficient and relevant to completing a degree or credential that meets their academic and career goals
  • Counseling and coaching: Connecting students to on- and off-campus resources and allowing students and advisors to monitor progress, provide ongoing feedback, and create personalized action plans for educational success
  • Targeting risk and intervention: Providing faculty, advisors, students, and administrators with the ability to better predict course failure and program stop-out, in order to support timely and effective interventions

Nancy Millichap, Postsecondary Program Officer at EDUCAUSE, emphasized the initiative’s enormous potential: “We and our partners firmly believe that the potential for iPASS and other technology-mediated reforms lies in their ability to spur change at the institutional level rather than merely promote efficiency,” Millichap said. “iPASS and other large-scale reforms have the potential to change how students experience college, thereby improving the likelihood that they will remain engaged, achieving learning goals, and ultimately graduate.”

2015 iPASS Grantee Institutions

California State University, Fresno Foundation

Colorado State University

Community College of Philadelphia Foundation

Doña Ana Community College*

George Mason University

Georgia State University

Honolulu Community College/University of Hawaii System*

Middle Tennessee State University

Montgomery County Community College

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Northern Arizona University

Northern Essex Community College

Patrick Henry Community College

Queensborough Community College

Ramapo College of New Jersey

South Texas College

Stella and Charles Guttman Community College

Trident Technical College*

University of Central Florida

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

University of South Florida

University of Texas at San Antonio

West Virginia University Foundation

Zane State College*

*These institutions are recipients of STEM Challenge grants, which are funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.


EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association and the foremost community of IT leaders and professionals 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