Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS Initiative)


Students do not exist within a vacuum. When they arrive on campus, they bring their own educational, career, and personal goals and social context that impacts the conditions they need in order to succeed. Achieving the Dream’s (ATD) approach to integrated advising and student support redesign leverages technology and relationship building to provide proactive, personalized, and holistic supports that meet the individual needs of each student. ATD’s work with two-year and four-year institutions in the iPASS initiative across the country informs our thinking and enables us to develop student support programs tailored for a broad spectrum of student bodies, institutional cultures, and organizational structures. Using the distinctive integrated student support and advising redesign approach, advisors, faculty, tutors, counselors, and other staff are better able to target their time and resources to those students who stand to benefit the most from specific, additional supports.


Achieving the Dream is providing strategic assistance to 26 two- and four-year higher education institutions to leverage technology and human relationships to transform their advising and planning services at scale, with the goal of increasing retention and completion for all their students. Through this work, students will receive a more personalized, streamlined, and consistent experience of advising and planning services that will be designed to help them identify the path that is right for them, and then get on and stay on that path through to transition to another institution or the workforce.

In particular, this work seeks to transform the student experience of three key areas of student supports:

  • Academic education, career, and financial planning: Helping students identify their educational and career goals and then guiding students to select programs of study that are relevant to these goals and courses that fulfill necessary program requirements. Guiding students to select programs of study that are relevant to their career and academic goals, and courses that fulfil necessary program requirements.
  • Counseling and coaching: Engaging with students in a proactive, personalized, and integrated way in order to connect students to on and off-campus resources.
  • Targeting risk and intervention: Predicting course failure and program stop-out to support timely and effective interventions.


Through the iPASS initiative, ATD and partner, EDUCAUSE, aim to:

  • Support the 26 grantees in designing and implementing their iPASS models to increase student retention and completion. Grantees have been challenged to increase student retention rates by 10 percentage points by the end of the three-year grant period (2015 - 2018).
  • Identify successful models of integrated planning and advising services that improve students’ progress into and through postsecondary education, and to share the lessons learned with the higher education field.
  • Increase the field’s understanding of how to lead transformative change in advising and planning services and implement iPASS effectively at scale.

This work, as well as the work of 10 community member institutions that attend grantee convenings, is generously supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust (Helmsley Charitable Trust).



At DREAM 2017, grantees and community members designed posters to showcase one component of their work that has proved most successful up to this point in the project. Each institution provided information on the work they are pursuing in one of the three buckets of the iPASS work (listed in the Project Overview), the impact of this work on the student experience, and their two biggest successes and challenges to-date. Click here to download the posters to learn more about their work. 


As we enter the third and final year of the iPASS learning initiative, grantees are focused on refining and scaling their new advising and planning policies, processes, and technologies, and building a plan to sustain the work beyond the grant. Additionally, the institutions’ work to track the progress and impact of their redesign continues through year three.

All 26 grantees, along with the 10 community members, will be attending their final in-person convening in February in conjunction with DREAM 2018 where they will be sharing lessons learned with the broader ATD Network. 

iPASS Grantees  

*Institutions marked with an asterisk are receiving strategic assistance directly from Achieving the Dream.



Press Releases

There are no press releases related to this initiative.

Shadowbox Semi-Transparent Layer


Shadowbox Content Here