Paying for college is only one of the many obstacles students face in completing postsecondary education. Difficulty adjusting to college life and balancing work, family and other obligations are the primary reasons why nearly half of all college students fail to graduate. That is why Scholarship America, the nation’s largest private education support organization, announced today that it has partnered with InsideTrack, the nation’s leading provider of student coaching solutions, to integrate personalized student success coaching into scholarship programs.
Since it was founded in 1958, Scholarship America has awarded $3.7 billion in financial aid scholarships to more than 2.3 million students. Now, employers, communities, philanthropic organizations and others funding students through Scholarship America can include professional, executive-style coaching with their scholarships to assist students in developing the skills needed to not only complete their studies, but also graduate prepared for meaningful careers.
Coaches support students in developing critical thinking, time management and other important skills through a combination of one-to-one meetings, email and text messaging, as well as access to self-guided content through the organization’s uCoach® web and mobile apps. Empirical research and hundreds of randomized control trials have found InsideTrack’s coaching to be an effective approach to improving student persistence and retention.
“We believe that all students deserve the opportunity to enjoy the transformative benefits of higher education, irrespective of their financial situation,” says Robert C. Ballard, President and CEO of Scholarship America. “That is why we are committed to eliminating the financial barriers to college access for millions of students nationwide. By partnering with InsideTrack, we’re now also able to ensure that once scholarship recipients start, they can successfully overcome the non-financial barriers that prevent students from completing their degrees.”
InsideTrack, which has worked with more than 1.5 million students and 1,600 programs since its founding in 2001, has partnered with numerous colleges and organizations concerned with expanding access while improving success rates among scholarship recipients. In Indiana, Ivy Tech Community College worked with InsideTrack to improve persistence rates by nearly 33% among its 21st Century Scholars, low-income and first generation students who receive financial aid from the State of Indiana.
“As a nation, we’ve made incredible progress over the last several decades closing access gaps in higher education. Today, more students than ever before finish high school and enter college,” said Pete Wheelan, CEO of InsideTrack. “Unfortunately, for completion and career placement, significant achievement gaps remain. Our partnership with Scholarship America enables us to help thousands of students take full advantage of their educational opportunities and become well-positioned to lead choice-filled lives.”
The two organizations are already in discussions with several major scholarship funders about the new coaching-enhanced scholarship programs and expect to roll the first ones out in 2017.
This article originally appeared in University Business on July 14, 2017