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Elevating Student Success at Scale
Identify institutional barriers to equity and college completion.
Diagnosing Obstacles to Student Success
Increase capacity to implement proven student-success systems and data-driven interventions.
Transforming the Status Quo in Higher Education
Enact systemic change to institutional processes and structures.

Challenges in Front of Us

Institutions hinder their students’ success through policies, practices, and structures that are the key drivers of equity gaps.

Are We The Problem?

3.6 Million

students who enrolled in college in 2018 who will not graduate.


of the students in the 2018 cohort who will not graduate are African American, Hispanic, or from low-economic backgrounds.


of students majoring in STEM fields are African American.


of students wished they had chosen a different major.


Bachelor degree holders make more than those with just a high school diploma.


Four years after graduation, African American students owe more in student loans than their white peers.


National percentage point gap between Pell and non-Pell students who graduate in six years.

Evidence-based, data-driven strategies for Student Success

The NISS provides partner institutions with in-depth diagnostic analyses, implementation support, and learning pathways that enable significant improvements in graduation rates and reductions of equity gaps.

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Evidence-based Programs

Practical know-how developed by subject matter experts who have successfully implemented such programs on their own campuses.

Equity Gap Reduction Icon

Equity Gap Reduction

Innovative and proven approaches for large-scale, positive transformation for students from all backgrounds.

Data Driven Student Support Icon

Data Driven Student Support

Equitable outcomes in the enrollment, retention, and graduation of students from diverse backgrounds through the implementation of data-informed practices

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Predictive Analytics

Holistic data analysis that identifies and addresses institutionally-created completion barriers.

Success by the Numbers

Georgia State is nationally known for pioneering student success programs that have eliminated equity gaps and improved college completion rates for all students.

Drop in summer melt.
Increase in undergraduate degrees awarded annually.
Students tracked daily for analytics-based alerts.
Completion grant recipients who graduate each year.
Reduction in withdrawals from students with a balance when using a Chatbot.
Increase in undergraduate degrees awarded to Hispanic students.
30 points
Increase in retention rate for students in Success Academy.
Majors and programs mapped to career outcomes.
The gap in graduation rates for African American and Hispanic students when compared to their white peers.

“The lessons learned by Georgia State are transferable. The NISS disseminates evidence-based best practices to other colleges and universities and provides a suite of services to support their successful implementation.”

Dr. Tim Renick, NISS Executive Director

Success Stories

University of Missouri identifies key challenges that are institutional barriers to student success.

University of Missouri, Columbia, the flagship, land-grant institution located in Columbia, Missouri, worked with the NISS from May until September 2023 through the Diagnostic & Playbook service. While Mizzou has done great work in student success, they knew there was still more work to be done to help better serve their students. Mizzou was able to identify key challenges that are institutional barriers to their overall success rates and they co-constructed with NISS coaches a set of goals to overcome those barriers to help close their equity gaps in retention and graduation rates. Moving forward, Mizzou will focus on areas of focus Mizzou improving internal and student-facing communications, streamlining advising processes and procedures, improving first-year support, and refining outcome data around courses to better support students academically.

Morgan State Seeks to Strengthen Financial Wellness through the Use of Analytics

Morgan State University, a flagship HBCU in Maryland, has been working closely with Georgia State University for almost a decade. Through this relationship, Morgan State has focused on replicating a number of student success programs developed at Georgia State and has seen overall increases in enrollment, retention, progression, and graduation rates. Morgan State was one of four institutional partners with Georgia State from 2017-2019 as part of a grant provided by the SunTrust Foundation to focus on strengthening financial wellness through the use of analytics and proactive outreach to students. Morgan State University is also participating in the NISS’s inaugural coaching cohort sponsored by the Truist Foundation.

NISS Partners with the Detroit Chamber of Commerce

The NISS partnered with the Detroit Chamber of Commerce to conduct diagnostic analyses on select Detroit Drives Degrees (D3C3) program participants. The NISS team provided Oakland Community College with important recommendations around use of academic data to identify courses with high DFW rates, structured learning opportunities to connect academic programs to career possibilities and strengthening of financial aid services through heightened collaboration with other enrollment services units.

North Carolina Central University: One of the NISS's First Diagnostic Clients

The NISS and NCCU project teams identified key challenges in year-to-year progression after the first-year, inconsistent advising supports across the campus, and a lack of systematic processes to support financial wellness. The NISS team provided important, data-informed recommendations around strengthening supports for students to review and select as they transitioned between majors, a more focused and coordinated approach to financial aid through collaboration and proactive outreach to students, and the systematized use of academic data to identify and direct more resources to courses with high non-pass rates, limited availability, or inadequate academic supports.

Weber State focuses on data-driven decision-making processes

Weber State University serves as an open access two-year and four-year institution to students in and around the state of Utah. They have the distinction of being the very first client of the National Institute for Student Success, having undergone the diagnostic analysis and playbook process. The NISS findings were overlaid with Weber State’s latest strategic plan and will assist in creating a focus on data-driven decision-making processes that provide optimized support to students in need.

Cowley College Becomes the First Community College to Partner with the NISS

Cowley Community College plays an important role in their region, not only by awarding associate’s degrees, but also by helping many of its students transfer to four-year institutions or find employment opportunities across a range of careers. The NISS worked with Cowley to identify key areas for sustained success, including real-time identification of stop-out students, as well as an enhanced standardization of academic advising and the creation of structured pathways to better guide students into and throughout their first year of study.

Savannah State University is an Important Engine of Social Mobility for the Region

In 2019, SSU undertook a substantial revision to its advising model, shifting to a fully professional academic advising structure across the entire undergraduate cycle. As a diagnostic partner, the NISS focused on challenges in academic support for first-year students, enhanced guidance for financial and career services, and great utilization of student outcome data to deliver much needed academic and institutional supports for its student population. Key recommendations included expanded access and utilization of data across the university, improved structured pathways for students in their first year and beyond, and a more coordinated communications strategy to prioritize and direct information to students in a timely, proactive, and personalized manner.

News & Insights

Students at Commencement ceremony


Aug 23, 2023 · 5 minutes

Press Release: Launch of the NISS Acceleration Grants Program

The National Institute for Student Success (NISS) has launched an ambitious new…

Students at Commencement ceremony

Orlando Montoya

Jul 14, 2023 · 10 minutes

Is the affirmative action ruling a call for colleges to do better to help students 'where they are?'

Listen: NISS Executive Director Tim Renick discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling…

Students at Commencement ceremony

Tim Renick, Executive Director, NISS

Jul 11, 2023 · 3 minutes

Response to the Supreme Court's Decisions to Overturn Affirmative Action and the Biden Administration's Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions overturning, in rapid…