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Ramapo Receives Prestigious Grant to Advance Student Success through Use of Information Technology

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)November 19, 2015

MAHWAH, N.J. – Ramapo College of New Jersey is one of only 24 recipients nationwide – and the only one in New Jersey – of a grant from EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology.

The EDUCAUSE program, Integrated Planning & Advising for Student Success (iPASS) in higher education, awarded Ramapo $225,000 over three years. Ramapo’s award is earmarked for its Connect Program, which provides an early warning system to identify students at risk of academic difficulty as well as other functions to promote student success. The Connect project is a joint effort between Enrollment Management, the Center for Student Success, the Office of the Provost, Institutional Research and Information Technology Services.

“Over the last five years, Ramapo has undertaken significant initiatives to enhance academic advisement and student success,” said President Peter P. Mercer. “The receipt of the iPASS grant will allow us to further our efforts across the three key areas identified by iPASS: education planning, coaching and counseling and targeting risk and intervention.”

Created with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the initiative will help two- and four-year higher education institutions launch comprehensive iPASS technologies by 2018.

This new integrative approach to student success promotes shared ownership for educational progress among students, faculty and staff, encompassing services that help students formulate and advance toward educational goals. iPASS includes tech-enabled advising, counseling, progress tracking, and academic early alerts.

“Institutions of higher education are facing greater challenges than ever before; many are working to decrease costs while delivering high-quality programs to a growing and increasingly diverse student body,” EDUCAUSE President and CEO John O’Brien said.

Over the course of their three-year projects, grantee institutions aim for at least a 10 percentage point increase in year-to-year student retention. Program results will be shared broadly to accelerate adoption of iPASS systems.

“We believe that through faculty and staff partnerships, and our overall commitment to student success, Ramapo can continue to provide high quality experiences while increasing retention and graduation rates of targeted populations,” said President Mercer. “I am proud to say that Ramapo currently has a retention rate of 86.3 percent and this grant will continue to help us advance our goal of increasing graduation rates among underrepresented groups, transfer students and international students.”

Grantees also will receive access to technology vendors and consultants in technology integration and business process redesign. Their plans will undergo rigorous third-party analysis of student outcomes and return on investment, led by the Community College Research Center at Teachers College of Columbia University, a partner in this initiative.

Successful applicants were expected to have rolled out at least part of their iPASS system(s) prior to applying for funding and will now focus on deploying each of the following broad, student-facing functions that improve on current technology and services in three areas:

  • Education planning: Guiding students to select courses and programs of study that are most efficient and relevant to completing a degree or credential that meets their academic and career goals
  • Counseling and coaching: Connecting students to on- and off-campus resources and allowing students and advisors to monitor progress, provide ongoing feedback and create personalized action plans for educational success
  • Targeting risk and intervention: Providing faculty, advisors, students, and administrators with the ability to better predict course failure and program stop-out, in order to support timely and effective interventions


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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