Office of Higher Education

In collaboration with national nonprofit InsideTrack, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education will build a statewide coaching service to help first-time student loan borrowers stay on track and complete their degrees

The Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) announced a new initiative on Aug. 17 to help student loan borrowers gain the skills needed to complete their degree programs and graduate ready to achieve their professional goals.

Through a program administered by InsideTrack, a national nonprofit focused on student success.

The initiative will provide dedicated success coaches who will work one-on-one with first-time borrowers enrolled in SELF, the state’s low-interest educational loan program.

“To unlock the full economic and financial potential of these important higher education investments, it’s critical that we match our commitment to college access with a similar dedication to college success and completion,” said Dennis Olson, Commissioner at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. “This work is about providing first-time student loan borrowers with the support they need to obtain a credential, changing their educational and career trajectories for years to come.”

According to research compiled by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, more than 35 million Americans, including roughly 560,000 in Minnesota, have earned some college credit, but not completed a degree.

Many of these individuals carry the burden of outstanding student loan debt that can be difficult to repay without the full financial and economic benefits of a college credential.

To help students navigate the path to completion and improve their long-term career and financial outcomes, the new initiative will provide first-time SELF loan borrowers with one-on-one support from professionally-trained success coaches.

Delivered through no cost virtual sessions offered via phone, email and text, the service will help eligible students develop crucial skills like time management while increasing awareness of available on-campus and off-campus resources to ensure that students have the support they need to succeed academically and personally.

Students will work with success coaches over a period of nine months to set educational goals, chart a path to achieve those goals, and navigate the obstacles they may encounter as they work toward earning a college degree.

This initiative will also provide valuable information to OHE as well as college campuses on the challenges and structural barriers that student face as they pursue their college credential.

A team of data analysts and experts from InsideTrack will collaborate with OHE to identify ways colleges can further support all students as they work toward increasing college completion rates.

“At a time when the typical college student is balancing the complexities of work, family, finances, and academics, making good on higher education’s promise of social and economic mobility requires us to make wise investments in the success and well-being of students," Ruth Bauer White, president of InsideTrack said. “This work is about backstopping the financial investments that students make in higher education by providing them with the wrap-around support they need to stay on track to graduate.”

To increase the long-term impact and sustainability of the program, OHE will work with InsideTrack to launch its own success coaching program and further develop its student support capacity.

InsideTrack will work closely with OHE student support staff for three years and train them to utilize InsideTrack’s evidence-based model to provide sustainable, scalable coaching for students.

The new program is the latest in a series of successful partnerships between InsideTrack and OHE aimed at improving postsecondary access and completion in the state of Minnesota over the past five years, including a statewide campaign to boost degree completion among students enrolled in technical programs across the state.

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