Evaluation of Integrated Planning and Advising​ for Student Success​ (iPASS)

March 2012–January 2021

Because community colleges lack the resources to provide in-depth, one-on-one student advising, some colleges and for-profit companies have begun to use technology tools to assist with program and course selection and to target support services. Initially referred to as Integrated Planning and Advising Services (IPAS), this approach is now referred to as Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS).

The first phase of the project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, sought to understand the processes through which these tools are implemented and adopted by end users. The primary goals of the project were to describe and document the implementation process, analyze changes in end-user practice over time, and validate a CCRC framework developed to assess institutions’ readiness to adopt new technology.

In a second phase of the project, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invested in a new cohort of colleges and universities engaged in technology-mediated advising reform. CCRC conducted a multifaceted research study examining the impact of iPASS on student outcomes. This study built on our previous research by further examining iPASS-related reforms and investigating iPASS’s efficacy in improving college persistence and completion. The researchers collected and analyzed detailed KPI (key performance indicator) and implementation data for more than two dozen colleges. CCRC also collected in-depth qualitative data on a subset of colleges to inform the field about implementation practices, challenges, and lessons.

In addition, three colleges in the cohort received more intensive assistance to build out high-quality iPASS programs and participate in more rigorous research to determine the causal impact of the intervention. CCRC, in partnership with MDRC, conducted randomized controlled trials at these institutions to provide rigorous evidence on the effects of iPASS on student success.

In the latest phase, CCRC is documenting the later-stage experiences of iPASS grantee institutions. The study is designed to build a greater understanding of what advising and student support experiences iPASS institutions provide students; what policies, guidelines, and processes were implemented to facilitate these advising experiences; what change management strategies iPASS institutions utilized; and how the institution’s experience selecting, launching, and using advising technologies evolved. The study will inform the work of the NASPA-led Advising Success Network, a partnership of nationally recognized higher education organizations that are working to advance advising reforms.

This project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, and NASPA.

Project Lead

Elisabeth A. Barnett