ATLANTA—Georgia State’s National Institute for Student Success (NISS) is moving towards its next implementation phase thanks to a transformational $2 million gift from The Kresge Foundation, a deeply committed supporter of student success initiatives at Georgia State and universities around the country.
The grant provides start-up and endowment capital for the NISS, which will work with colleges and universities to help them implement data-centered, technology-driven and evidence-based systems to increase college access and completion. A previous planning grant from Kresge helped the NISS develop a model for disseminating the innovative student-success programs pioneered at Georgia State across other post-secondary institutions nationally.
The NISS, which opens in early fall, will help colleges and universities identify and resolve institutional barriers to equity and college completion by increasing their capacity to implement proven student-success systems and data-driven interventions, and enact systemic change to institutional processes and structures. Led by a team of practitioners with experience successfully designing programs, the NISS will implement and scale some of the most transformative student-support systems in the nation. Using data-driven approaches such as predictive analytics, chatbots enhanced with artificial intelligence, early alerts, completion grants and proactive advising, Georgia State has more than doubled graduation rates for underserved students and eliminated equity gaps based on race, ethnicity and income level.
“Georgia State’s remarkable success at closing racial and achievement equity gaps has become iconic in higher education both nationally and around the world,” said Bill Moses, the managing director of Kresge’s Education Programs. “The NISS’s genesis emerged from Georgia State becoming a mecca for reformers interested in the university’s programs, technologies and practices. The university has pioneered higher education’s use of data driven solutions. This is the logical next step.”
Kresge has long supported Georgia State’s success efforts.
“We are deeply grateful for our continued relationship with Kresge” said Dr. Timothy Renick, the NISS’s executive director. “The Kresge Foundation not only has been a valued thought partner with Georgia State as we develop next-level innovations to support our own students, with this gift it underlines the importance of replicating the successes we have seen at Georgia State across the nation and beyond. Equitable access to and success in college should be the norm, not the exception.”
The Kresge Foundation supported the consolidation with Perimeter College in 2015, and another Kresge gift funded the Summer Success Academy at Perimeter, which enrolls students during the summer semester before their first fall semester at Georgia State. Students take three college-level courses during the summer, while being supported with intensive advising, supplemental tutoring, financial literacy training and leadership experiences. The grant not only funded the academic and programmatic components of the Summer Academy, it supported the collection of data about the program and the writing of a white paper on the Academy that helped other universities nationwide deploy a similar model.
Perimeter’s 3-year graduation rate has increased from 6.5 percent to 22 percent, and the percentage of Perimeter students who graduate or successfully transfer to a four-year institution now is at 83 percent, leading the Chronicle of Higher Education to rank Perimeter among the top-20 community colleges nationally. Kresge has also underwritten a book, “Won’t Lose This Dream” and 10-minute video documenting Georgia State’s student-success work. Kresge’s investment team also made a recent mission-related investment in AdmitHub, the artificial intelligence-based texting company whose platform was pioneered by Georgia State to enhance student success and is now used by dozens of other universities.
The Kresge Education Program works to increase postsecondary attainment, while eliminating equity gaps for low-income students and students of color in the United States and South Africa.