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NECC Receives National Student Success Grant

Submitted by on September 17, 2015 – 3:43 pm

Dawna Perez, NECC dean of student success.

Strategies to help students succeed at Northern Essex Community College are getting a boost thanks to a $200,000 iPASS grant funded from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Helmsley Family Trust.

“Northern Essex already uses tools like Starfish Early Success, DegreeWorks, and TutorTrac to help our students succeed,” said Dawna Perez, NECC dean of student success. “This grant will allow us to leverage the technology in ways that optimize the student experience while providing a seamless continuum of services to keep students on track to graduate, or transfer to a four year college or university.”

The grant, administered over three years through EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association of Information Technology (IT) leaders and professionals committed to higher education, will help Northern Essex to “improve technological integration, our students’ ability to navigate college processes, and will transform how various college departments work together for student success,” said Perez, who will oversee the iPASS project. “We will connect a new data warehouse and data analytics package with existing tools like Starfish Early Success, DegreeWorks, and TutorTrac. Most importantly, students will experience our student success strategies in a clearer, more consistent way.”

Northern Essex was one of 24 institutions in 19 states to receive an iPASS (Integrated Planning & Advising for Student Success) grant. Applicants had to have already implemented part of their iPASS initiative prior to applying for the grant. Recipients will now focus on using technology and services for education planning, counseling and coaching, and targeting students who are at risk of failing.

According to EDUCAUSE, this new integrative approach to student success promotes shared ownership for educational progress among students, faculty, and staff. It encompasses services that help students reach their goals. iPASS includes technology based advising, counseling, progress tracking, and academic early alerts.

Over the next three years, Northern Essex will aim for a 10 * point increase in year-to-year student retention.

“This reality demands that institutions embrace new models for monitoring and improving student performance, and I’m convinced that iPASS systems can be a student success game-changer,” said John O’Brien, president and CEO of EDUCAUSE.

Another partner organization, Achieving the Dream, a national initiative to help more community college students achieve success, will provide technical assistance to Northern Essex.

NECC will also receive access to technology vendors and consultants in technology integration and business process redesign. Northern Essex’s plans will be analyzed for student outcomes and return on investment by the Community College Research Center at Teachers college of Columbia University.

For additional information on this grant visit EDUCAUSE.

For more information on NECC’s student success program go to the student success website.