Giving Compass' Take:

• MSRC reports on three institutions that have increased the emphasis on providing timely support, boosted their use of advising technologies, and used administrative and communication strategies to increase student contact with advisers. 

• What does technology hold for the future of education? How do tech philanthropists feel about this issue?

• Here's an article on successfully improving advising with the use of technology. 

Across the United States, college graduation rates for low-income students are too low. There are many contributing factors: inadequate academic preparation, the cost of college, challenges balancing work and school, difficulties that many first-generation students face navigating college, and institutional practices that may unintentionally hold students back. A key element of the programs that are most effective at helping students stay on track is frequent advising, including reaching out to students who seem to be struggling. In many cases, however, resources limit the amount of time advisers can spend with students. Employing technology to improve the staff’s ability to provide high-quality advising can be an attractive strategy for institutions looking to make system-wide changes.

Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) is an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support colleges that seek to incorporate technology into their advising and student services. In iPASS, such technology is intended to increase advising’s emphasis on a student’s entire college experience, enabling advisers to more easily (1) intervene when students show early warning signs of academic and nonacademic challenges, (2) regularly follow up as students progress through college, (3) refer students to tutoring and other support services when needed, and (4) provide personalized guidance that reflects students’ unique needs.

Read the full article about integrating technology and advising by Alexander Mayer, Hoori Santikian Kalamkarian, Benjamin Cohen, Lauren Pellegrino, Melissa Boynton and Edith Yang at MDRC.