U.S. Department of Education Awards UIA $8.9 Million to Evaluate Analytics-Based Advising for Low-Income and First-Generation College Students

By Jenna Schuette Talbot
September 21, 2015
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PORTLAND, OR, September 21, 2015 – Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the University Innovation Alliance (UIA) and Georgia State University were selected as one of the winners in its First in the World competition to encourage innovation among institutions of higher education. The UIA has been awarded $8.9 million to conduct a four-year research study on its 11 member campuses to evaluate the effectiveness of advising in increasing retention, progression, and graduation rates for low-income and first-generation students.

“Today, more institutions are turning to data and analytics to help personalize advising, and identify struggling students before they get too far off track,” said Bridget Burns, UIA Executive Director. “Our mission is to test new ideas, understand what works, and scale effective innovations across the country to ensure that more students have the supports they need to complete college. The First in the Word grant will enable us to study the work already taking place at our 11 institutions, and test best practices using data analytics that we can share with and beyond the Alliance.”

The project, Monitoring Advising Analytics to Promote Success (MAAPs), will study 10,000 students who are exposed to an intensive menu of proactive, analytics-based advising interventions at the UIA universities. Through quantitative and qualitative research and analysis, the study will examine the benefits, especially for at-risk students, of introducing systematic, proactive advising.

“This grant illustrates why the Alliance is so important. Over the next four years, our eleven institutions will produce groundbreaking evidence illustrating the impact of predictive analytics on student success that will have national significance,” said Dr. Tim Renick, Vice President for Enrollment at Georgia State University and the MAAPs project leader.

As part of the study, students at each of the 11 universities will be selected by random assignment and will receive, in addition to advising services typically offered, (a) intensive, proactive advisement to help them establish individualized academic maps, (b) real-time alerts prompted by a system of analytics-based tracking when they may be struggling, and (c) timely, targeted advising interventions to get them back on the appropriate academic path.

Launched just one year ago, the UIA is a consortium of public research universities established to help more students from all socioeconomic backgrounds graduate from college. This year, all institutions are implementing or scaling the use of data analytics and advising to improve student retention and college completion. The University Innovation Alliance includes:

  • Arizona State University
  • Georgia State University 
  • Michigan State University
  • Iowa State University 
  • Ohio State University 
  • Oregon State University
  • Purdue University 
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Texas at Austin