Giving Compass' Take:

• EdSurge reports on the Gates Foundation's grant to support the implementation of new tools and strategies to increase the frequency of communication between students and advisors, and leverage data to make those meetings more effective.

• How can this system be improved? 

Here's why college dropouts need support to get back to school. 


College advisors want to help students stay on track to finish their programs. But on many campuses, the high student-to-advisor ratios make it difficult, if not impossible, to identify and support every student who needs extra guidance.

Over the years, higher ed institutions have deployed data analytics and technology tools to help advisors in their work. One of the more high profile efforts has been supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which in 2013 began providing grant funding to colleges and companies for its Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success initiative, or iPASS for short. The ultimate goal is to help more students persist and finish college.

But when it comes to achieving that goal, iPASS efforts have yet to pass muster, according to a new report examining these efforts at three institutions. As the authors wrote: iPASS has “not yet produced discernible positive effects on students’ academic performance.” At the root of the problem, flawed data, skeptical advisors and other implementation hiccups with iPASS efforts failed to move the needle for students, the report found.

Read the full article about the Gates Foundation's college advising initiative by Tony Wan at EdSurge.