Starfish Congratulates Seven Community Members for Their Progress in the Research-Based Integrated Planning and Advising Services (IPAS) Initiative

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-Funded Program Focuses on Studying and Promoting Best Practices to Help More Students Achieve Success

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We have been very impressed with both the Starfish platform as well as the company’s commitment to ensuring our institution’s success in using the technology.

Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading student success company, announced today that seven of its client institutions are participating in the May 19-21, 2014 meetings of the Integrated Planning and Advising Services (IPAS) initiative, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant program is designed to identify methods that effectively scale student success programs.

The meetings are an opportunity for all of the institutions participating in the IPAS initiative to provide updates on their respective programs. Seven of the 19 institutions that received a $100,000 grant utilized a portion of the grant funds to implement, enhance, or integrate with the Starfish® Enterprise Success Platform™. These institutions include:

  •     Austin Peay State University
  •     Montgomery County Community College
  •     Morgan State University
  •     Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
  •     Prince George’s Community College
  •     Queensborough Community College, a college of The City University of New York (CUNY)
  •     University of Texas at San Antonio

“We have been very impressed with both the Starfish platform as well as the company’s commitment to ensuring our institution’s success in using the technology,” said Karen Stout, Ph.D., president of Montgomery County Community College. “While student success is the responsibility of everyone on campus, we have been very pleased by how our faculty members have responded to using the Starfish platform to share their concerns for at-risk students. We also appreciate how open Starfish is to listening to our needs and supporting our involvement in important initiatives like the IPAS program, which will help a lot of institutions scale their student success efforts.”

Through the efforts of the grantee institutions, the IPAS initiative is working to uncover proven approaches that result in improved student retention, progression and graduation; reduced time to degree and excess credit hours; and improved allocation of scarce institutional resources. The grant initiative, which began in 2013, is specifically looking at solutions that support enhanced degree planning, coaching and advising, and early alert and risk targeting. The research is being supported by analysis from the Community College Research Center, the Predictive Analytics Reporting Framework and other leading higher education consultants.

“Colleges and universities are working as hard as they can to address their goals for improving student success. But so often they are asked to take on new projects on top of current efforts, resulting in what faculty and staff describe as ‘death by initiative,’” noted Beth Davis, managing director for the Predictive Analytics Reporting Framework. “Throughout our work supporting the IPAS institutions, project staff have consistently described the Starfish platform as easy to adopt and implement. We are looking forward to the opportunity to support these institutions as they measure the reach and impact of their Starfish implementations so these positive results can truly be scaled.”

The Starfish Enterprise Success Platform™ builds on the company’s mission to help students finish what they start. Comprising four distinct but connected modules, the platform enables institutions to view all their campus data and activities through the lens of student success. Starfish EARLY ALERT™ enables institutions to learn more about their students as early as possible. Starfish CONNECT™ makes it easy for students to engage with those on campus dedicated to their success. Starfish ADVISING™ gives students an academic path to follow in order to achieve success. And Starfish INSIGHT™, which will be available in 2014, will enable institutions to measure the effectiveness of their student success initiatives.

“I am extremely proud that Queensborough is a partner in this Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation initiative,” said Diane B. Call, Ed.D., president of Queensborough Community College. “The Starfish platform is now an integral part of the college’s major academic initiative, the Queensborough Academies, which provides advisement and support services for all full-time degree students in all areas of study from admission to graduation. The early alert system has proven to be a powerful communications tool to help advisors intervene in such a way that furthers our mission to ensure the continued success of our outstanding students.”

About Starfish Retention Solutions
Starfish Retention Solutions is a leading provider of student success systems. The Starfish® Enterprise Success Platform™ helps institutions efficiently scale their student success programs so that more students can finish what they start. Specifically, the software identifies at-risk students in real time based on their daily coursework performance and faculty concerns and then connects them to the resources designed to help (e.g., advising or tutoring), all while assessing which services and interventions are working. For more information, call 703.260.1186 or visit

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John Plunkett
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