InsideTrack Blends Social Finance, Student Coaching and Consulting to Improve College Outcomes Nationwide

Completion Catalyst initiative will use ‘pay for success’ financing to scale student success programs at community colleges across the country

InsideTrack, a leading student success organization, has announced the launch of a new initiative called Completion Catalyst, aimed at enhancing student success programs at community colleges using social impact bond financing. The initiative aims to generate 1 million additional community college graduates by the year 2025 by supporting 300 community colleges across the nation in enhancing their student support capabilities.

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Through Completion Catalyst, InsideTrack and its partners will support community colleges in implementing proven student success strategies, including coaching programs, guided pathways, co-requisite remediation and improved new student orientation. By using Pay for Success (PFS) financing, the program will provide participating colleges the sustained funding required for the multi-year process of organizational change and personnel development needed to make these programs successful long term.

Student success coaching has proven particularly effective in randomized controlled trials as a means of improving student persistence and graduation rates.  It is also a powerful way for institutional leaders to gain insight on the student experience to inform their operational and policy decisions.

Unfortunately, many of the institutions who could benefit most from implementing coaching programs, such as community colleges lack the financial resources to design an effective program, train their people, put in place the supporting systems and fund operation of the program until its financial breakeven point.

The Completion Catalyst initiative will address startup and sustainability issues by using PFS financing to cover the cost of a comprehensive student support capacity building program for each participating institution.  As each institution increases student persistence and completion, the ongoing costs of the student support programs will be offset through greater revenue from tuition and state appropriations.  Meanwhile, as states reap the benefits of higher college attainment rates, including enhanced workforce readiness and reduced dependence on social services, they will begin returning dividends to social impact investors.  Students, families, institutions, communities, employers, states and investors will all benefit.

“Improving student outcomes not only improves an institution’s financial sustainability, it also generates major economic impact for communities, employers and states,” said Kai Drekmeier, President and Founder of InsideTrack. “By using impact investing to fund the proper implementation of coaching and other student success programs, institutions can build programs that are sustainable and effective long term.”

Kiko Suarez, Vice President of Communications and Innovation at the Lumina Foundation, which provided funding to support design of the program lauded Completion Catalyst as a promising new approach to bend the curve on college completion.

“Completion Catalyst is truly an innovative model for making student success coaching and other support programs more sustainable, especially within our nation’s community colleges,” said Suarez. “We were pleased to provide support and programmatic guidance for the program design and are delighted to see the program gaining momentum.  We will watch with great interest as the initiative moves forward.”

InsideTrack partners with institutions to design and operate student support programs that are proven to increase enrollment, graduation, career readiness, institutional effectiveness and overall satisfaction with the student experience. The company is currently engaged with more than 850 programs nationwide at a broad range of institutions, including Ivy Tech Community College, Columbia University, Penn State University and Arizona State University.

Completion Catalyst is modeled on the capacity building program InsideTrack uses to help its institutional partners build their internal student support capabilities rather than relying on outside providers.

The organization is currently in discussion with a range of public, private and philanthropic funders, as well as leading research institutes to put in place the necessary financing and evaluation mechanisms for Completion Catalyst.  They expect to launch the program at 5 demonstration sites in the 2016-2017 academic year.

Community colleges and funders interested in participating in Completion Catalyst are invited to contact program administrators at

About InsideTrack

Society thrives when students succeed. Since 2001, InsideTrack has used a proven combination of coaching, analytics, consulting and technology to unlock potential in 1 million+ students and 850+ academic programs. We invite you to join the leading colleges, universities, foundations, and others working with us to enhance the transformative power of higher education. Please visit us at and follow us on Twitter @InsideTrack.

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