Press Release
July 28, 2022

University of Utah Boosts First-Year Success with a New Coaching Initiative for Students with Scholarships

Utah’s public flagship university taps national nonprofit InsideTrack to provide one-on-one coaching to first-year students and enhance its holistic student success efforts

SALT LAKE CITY (JULY 28, 2022) — The University of Utah (the U), a public flagship research university ranked among the top programs in the nation for value by Times Higher Education and The Wall Street Journal, today announced an ambitious multi-year initiative that will harness the power of one-on-one student success coaching to help more students complete college. In collaboration with student success nonprofit InsideTrack, the institution will deliver one-on-one success coaching for up to 500 first-year, high-financial-need students, helping them to navigate a range of complex challenges facing first-time college students.

“Today’s students are facing a broader and more complex range of financial, professional and social-emotional pressures than they have in the past. Colleges have a profound responsibility to help students navigate these myriad factors within and beyond the classroom that influence their academic success,” said Dr. Thomas Chase Hagood, senior associate vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the Office of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Utah. “This is about scaling the personalized, direct support of success coaching to help students achieve their goals in the critical first year of college.”

The initiative is part of a university-wide shift to address a broad range of challenges that impede student success, including time and stress management, connecting to school community, and financial wellness. The last decade has seen the U’s persistence and graduation rates increase by ten percent. Hagood’s arrival in summer 2021 marked the U’s recommitment to a student-driven, data-informed approach to providing an Exceptional Educational Experience for and with every student. The efforts to raise first-year persistence is helping to address the ambitious higher education attainment goal set by the Utah Board of Higher Education to increase the percentage of Utah high school graduates enrolling in college within five years to 75% by 2025.

Staff from Utah’s Student Success Coaching unit will partner with InsideTrack to build and expand the university’s capacity to provide personalized support to all students. Using InsideTrack’s proven coaching methodology, Utah will be able to use a single, evidence-based approach to coaching, helping to meet the wide variety of barriers to student success.

In addition to providing direct coaching for first-year students, InsideTrack will also work with the university over the next two years to establish the internal diagnostics, training process, certification and professional development to operate its own coaching program. At the end of this first phase, the university will be able to implement a train-the-trainer model that will enable staff to sustain the program for years to come and replicate and expand the coaching program using completely internal resources.

“While addressing affordability is critical, students from under-resourced backgrounds often face an array of other challenges beyond finances that can impact student success,” said Malika Clinkscales, associate vice president of partner success at InsideTrack. “This is about combining financial access with the power of success coaching to ensure that every student has the support they need to thrive and achieve their educational potential.”

Over more than two decades, InsideTrack has developed a national reputation for its rigorous student success coaching model, which is proven to enhance student enrollment, persistence, completion, and career readiness. In addition to directly coaching hundreds of thousands of students annually, InsideTrack’s seasoned team of professional coaches, trainers, and consultants also supports institutions in implementing changes to improve the long-term effectiveness and sustainability of their own student support services.


About the University of Utah: Founded in 1850, The University of Utah is the flagship institution of higher learning in Utah, and offers over 100 undergraduate and more than 90 graduate degree programs to over 30,000 students. As a preeminent research and teaching institution, the University cultivates an academic environment in which the highest standards of intellectual integrity and scholarship are practiced–ensuring everyUtah student has an exceptional educational experience. To learn more, visit and follow us on Twitter@UUtah and LinkedIn @UUtah.

About InsideTrack: InsideTrack is passionate about helping all learners achieve their education and career goals through the transformative power of coaching. Since 2001, we've served 2.6 million learners, partnering with more than 250 institutions and organizations to directly improve enrollment, persistence, completion and career readiness. Our coaching methodology is evidence-based and research-confirmed, with proven outcomes for every type of learner — from traditional to adult, part-time to full-time, online to in-person — including first generation students and those who face systemic barriers to postsecondary success. We also work with partners to build internal coaching capacity through staff training and professional services — designed to sustain advances in-house for lasting, scalable impact. InsideTrack is a part of Strada Collaborative, a mission-driven nonprofit. To learn more, visit and follow us on Twitter @InsideTrack and LinkedIn @InsideTrack.

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