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One of the great joys to this work is watching our partner institutions bring focus and innovation to policy and practice as they work to help more students succeed. An impressive example of this kind of focus and innovation is the University of South Florida, where leaders have been leaning into using Illume to help every student have his or her best chance at the dream of a degree. With 15 years of solid commitment to strategic planning, they are demonstrating for the higher-education field that demography is not destiny, that every student can succeed given the right environment and support, and that doing this work thoroughly and thoughtfully nets the institution return on investment. Dr. Paul Dosal has been an inspiration in leading the change at USF with a dedicated team including a Persistence Committee representing more than 10 departments. I’m sharing a case study about this (below) so you can learn more about the fascinating case management model that employs academic advocates working with the Committee and our platform and apps to ensure every student at risk of not persisting is getting the highly-individualized, personal outreach they need to get back on the pathway to success. USF had an aspirational goal to raise six-year graduation rates from 48 percent in 2009 to 70 percent. Their accompanying goal was to move first-year retention from the low 80s to 90 percent. They recently submitted data to the Board of Governors showing they hit the 90 percent and are on track to hit the 70 percent later this year. This working smarter, faster and collaboratively with well-designed predictive models has opened up their institution to the chance to qualify for up to $15 million in performance-based funding later this year. And they did it while staying true to their mantra that demography is not destiny, also closing the achievement gaps by ethnicity and income while hitting these numbers! It’s a double bottom line that can reward equity and ROI, and it doesn’t get much better than that. We’re certain they won’t stop there and will continue to strive for the very best for all students. It’s worth the read and share with your colleagues. Keep up the great work Paul and team!
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