Powered by Predictive Data: How Central Carolina Community College Will Identify and Support At-Risk Students through Proactive Coaching

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For boosting completion rates for at-risk students, how much of a difference can structured student coaching make? Here's what Central Carolina Community College is trying.


The US Department of Education has awarded multi-million dollar "First in the World" grants to 18 colleges and universities that are innovating to solve critical challenges with access, recruitment, retention, and student success. At AI, we have interviewed each of the recipients to learn more about the projects these institutions are pursuing, how their approaches are unique, and what other colleges and universities can learn from these new efforts.

This was the second year of the First in the World grants. You can read our interviews with the 24 institutions that received 2014 grants here.

by Lisa Cook, Academic Impressions

Central Carolina Community College set out to improve completion rates for at-risk students by embedding success coaches in targeted departments in Spring 2013, as part of a larger initiative funded by a 2012 Title III grant that included launching a College Success Center, adding the team of success coaches, and implementing an early alert advising system. The addition of coaching has already led to a 13 percent increase in student persistence.

Now, with the help of a $9.2 million First in the World grant — the largest of the 2015 grants — CCCC hopes to expand their proactive coaching model and its results across North Carolina. We talked with Brian Merritt, vice president of student learning, to learn more about:

  • How their success coaching model works
  • How they will support the coaching efforts with predictive data
  • The elements necessary to successfully expand the success coach model across other institutions

Given its early success, there may be a lot that can be learned here for your own institution.

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