Indiana Public Universities Boost Persistence of Low-Income Students through Success Coaching

INDIANAPOLIS (NOV. 22, 2016) — Today, several leading public colleges and universities announced positive results from a major initiative to improve success rates among first-generation, low-income and minority students through student success coaching. The 21st Century Scholars Coaching Initiative is part of Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program, which offers income-eligible Hoosier students up to four years of paid tuition at an eligible Indiana college or university, along with support preparing for the transition to college and to their career after graduation.

Two of the institutions – Ivy Tech and Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) – reported double digit increases in first-year persistence rates for 21st Century Scholars compared to historical averages. The three other participating institutions – Indiana University East, Indiana University Kokomo and Indiana State University — also reported positive results. The coaching program is operated through a partnership with InsideTrack, the nation’s leading provider of student success coaching.

Nationally, only 11% of low-income students who are the first to attend college in their family will graduate within six years, compared to 55% of more advantaged peers. Additionally, these students are four times more likely to leave after their first year. To address this gap, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education launched the 21st Century Scholarship program in 1990 and, in 2014 worked with USA Funds, InsideTrack and five public institutions to add coaching to the program in order to address the non-financial barriers to student success.

At Ivy Tech, the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, the coaching program has enabled the institution to increase first-year persistence of 21st Century Scholars from a historic average of 36.9 percent to 49 percent in two years. Over the same time period, IUPUI was able to increase first-year Scholar persistence from a historic average of 50 percent to 60 percent.

“Succeeding in college is often more challenging for low-income students, especially those who are the first in their families to pursue higher education,” said Jeff Fanter, Senior Vice President of Student Experience at Ivy Tech. “Ivy Tech is committed to expanding opportunity for all individuals, irrespective of their socio-economic background and through scholarships and coaching, we’ve been able to level the playing field and effectively eliminate persistence gaps.”

“Paying for college isn’t the only challenge low-income students face,” said Cathy Buyarski, Executive Director of Student Success Initiatives at IUPUI. “The ability to balance work, family, academic and social obligations is critical, and coaching helps students develop the skills required to be self-sufficient and successful.”

“By helping students develop their non-cognitive abilities, innovative institutions are moving the needle, not just in short-term persistence, but also on long-term success,” said Pete Wheelan, CEO of InsideTrack. “It’s exciting to see state higher education leaders and individual campuses coming together to implement programs like this at scale.”

Since 2001, InsideTrack has provided high-quality coaching to more than 1.3 million students/alumni at more than 1,600 academic programs nationwide, with a strong track record of improving outcomes and performance. Using an adaptive coaching methodology, InsideTrack coaches provide 1:1 personalized coaching for students through in-person meetings, text messages, emails, phone calls, and access to an online platform that provides college and career coaching resources.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.


As Indiana’s premier urban public research university, IUPUI believes in the power of transformation. We are committed to providing educational opportunities that transform the lives of our students, our community, and the changing world around us. It was this commitment that was behind the merger of the Indianapolis campuses and programs of Indiana University and Purdue University—some of which are more than 100 years old—that won accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission in 1969, creating IUPUI. And it’s what binds us together today. We’re now Indiana’s premier urban research university offering more than 350 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs Indiana University and Purdue University.

About InsideTrack

InsideTrack is passionate about student success. Since 2001, we have been dedicated to partnering with colleges and universities to create adaptive coaching solutions that generate measurable results. These solutions combine professional coaching, technology and data analytics to increase enrollment, completion, and career readiness. Our adaptive coaching methodology is based on the latest behavioral science research and knowledge gained from working with more than 1.3 million students and 1,600 programs. In combination with our uCoach® Platform, our approach optimizes student engagement and generates valuable insights on the student experience through predictive modeling, behavioral analysis and multichannel communication. Join us and the leading institutions, foundations and others working to bring the transformative power of education to all individuals. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @InsideTrack.

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