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iMentor: Using Technology to Provide Personalized Support and Develop College Knowledge

"I wouldn't have gone to college and I wouldn't have gotten my first job without my mentor. Now I want to be a mentor and show someone the one thing that people can't take away from you, and that's an education. That's what my mentor taught me.“

Julia Blue, former mentee and current mentor; graduate, Howard University; deputy finance director, New York tri-state region, Obama for America


What We Do and Develop College Knowledge

  • Build mentoring relationships to support college success

  • Match every student in a school with a mentorwho is a college graduate

  • Implement research-based curriculum and data-driven case management to support the development of healthy pair relationships.


iMentor Program Model and Develop College Knowledge

iMentor’s program model builds strong mentoring relationships, embeds these relationships in schools, and significantly enhances the way schools prepare students for college.

Our Mentoring Relationships

Focus on College Success


Core Outcomes of iMentor Mentoring Relationships and Develop College Knowledge

All mentor-mentee relationships utilize iMentor’s curriculum and resources to focus on 4 core outcomes.

Provide individualized support with the college process and connect mentees to college resources and opportunities

4

Develop a strong personal relationship

Develop non-cognitive skills critical for college success

1

2

3

Grow and nurture a college aspiration

Core Outcomes


Technology-Enhanced Personal Support and Develop College Knowledge

iMentor uses technology to enhance personalized support in a number of ways:

  • The iMentor platform provides a space for differentiated curriculum and targeted case management

  • A Resource Database includes college access information vetted by the MD of Program Design

  • The recently launched Texts For College Success Campaign provided personalized texts to support students in their matriculation to college


Mission and focus
Mission and Focus and Develop College Knowledge

The Citi Foundation supports the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of low- to moderate-income people in communities where Citi operates.

Financial Capability & Asset Building

Through a "More than Philanthropy" approach, we put the strength of Citi's business resources and people to work to enhance our philanthropic investments and help improve communities.

College Completion

Microfinance


Investing in College Completion and Develop College Knowledge

The Citi Foundation supports programs that work to increase the number of

low-income students who obtain a college degree

  • We invest in programs that:

  • Assist students through the search, application and financial aid process

  • Empower them and their families with access to appropriate college saving tools

We work closely with our community partners to design and to test innovative and scalable solutions that work to increase the number of academically eligible students who not only get into college, but who can also persist, pay for, and complete a college degree


Partnership with iMentor and Develop College Knowledge

  • Investment

  • In 2013, the Citi Foundation supported iMentor to:

  • enhance their capacity to increase college matriculation, persistence and completion rates among 1,350 students

  • provide financial literacy curricula and support to 925 mentor-mentee pairs,

  • ensure ensuring that 75% of the mentees complete the FAFSA and that 45 students have access to a college savings account

  • increase pair interaction among students in their freshman year of college by engaging 50% of pairs in iMentor events and the text messaging campaign

  • More than Philanthropy

    • Nearly 100 Citi employees are engaged in 3-4 year mentoring relationships

    • Hosted “Stemming the Summer Flood: Innovative Summer Strategies to Increase College Matriculation Rates.

    • Scale

    • Over the next five years, iMentor will match more than 20,000 students with mentors


How can mentors support first generation college students? and Develop College Knowledge

In the US, approximately 4.5 million freshmen in college are classified as first-generation, low-income students. Of these students, 89% will leave college without a degree.


How can mentors support first generation college students
How can mentors support first generation college students? and Develop College Knowledge

  • DuBois, Holloway, Valentine, and Cooper (2002) found that “discussing college with mentors, especially those who have attended themselves, can generate interest in going to college among students whose parents have not gone to college” (http://www.ihep.org/assets/files/publications/m-r/THE_ROLE_OF_MENTORING_IN_ACCESS_AND_SUCCESS_FINAL_Spring_2011.pdf).

  • Mentors who worked with students in high school can provide intrusive support during their mentee’s transition into college and help their mentee identify on-campus resources.

  • Mentors who are college graduates can provide the “inside knowledge” that it takes to apply, enroll, and persist in college.

  • Mentors can play an especially important role during the summer before college matriculation.


Imentor s texts for college success campaign
iMentor’s Texts for College Success Campaign and Develop College Knowledge

  • Last spring, iMentor had 600 mentees who were scheduled to graduate high school in June and were planning on attending more than 80 different colleges.

  • Challenge: How do we make matriculation steps visible to students and their mentors?


The summer melt problem
The summer melt problem and Develop College Knowledge

Even after being accepted to college and choosing where to attend, low-income students face many hurdles to college enrollment…

Supplementary loan applications

FAFSA verification

Tuition payment plan set-up

Award letter review

Unanticipated fees (orientation, housing, etc.)

Orientation and placement test registration

Health insurance applications and waivers

Housing applications

But typically have little access to professional help.


Uncertainty about financial aid
Uncertainty about financial aid and Develop College Knowledge

Applied to tuition bill?

Total cost of attendance?

Grant aid?

Slide provided by Ben Castleman (University of Virginia) & Lindsay Page (University of Pittsburgh)


Uncertainty about the tuition bill and Develop College Knowledge

Financial gap of $2,400 or $600?

Slide provided by Ben Castleman (University of Virginia) & Lindsay Page (University of Pittsburgh)


The magnitude of the summer melt problem
The magnitude of the summer melt problem and Develop College Knowledge

Percentages indicate the share of college-intending students that do not enroll anywhere in the fall following high school graduation. (Slide and stats provided by Ben Castleman (University of Virginia) & Lindsay Page (University of Pittsburgh).

Boston, MA

21%

Providence, RI

33%

Albuquerque, NM

29%

Philadelphia, PA

32%

Fort Worth, TX

44%

Dallas, TX

28%

Fulton County

22%

15


Imentor s texts for college success campaign1
iMentor’s Texts for College Success Campaign and Develop College Knowledge

  • Step One: Determine What Students Need To Do To Matriculate Successfully

  • Step Two: Analyze Where Students Access Information

  • Step Three: Develop Enrollment Tip Sheets

  • Step Four: Develop Text Message Campaign

  • Step Five: Launch Text Message Campaign


Step 1 what do students need to do to matriculate successfully
Step 1:What do students need to do to matriculate successfully?

  • Between acceptance and matriculation, students must complete a number of steps – many of which are unique to the college in which they are enrolling. Steps can include:

    • Accepting financial aid award;

    • Providing documentation for financial aid verification;

    • Taking placement exams;

    • Attending orientation;

    • Submitting transcripts;

    • Registering for classes;

    • Paying deposits;

    • Submitting housing forms;

    • Completing loan applications, etc.



Step 3 develop enrollment tip sheets
Step 3: Develop Enrollment Tip Sheets successfully?

  • iMentor partnered with community-based organizations and postsecondary partners to develop enrollment tip sheets for 55 colleges.

  • Tip sheets outline the sequence of matriculation steps relevant to each college with campus-specific resources.

  • Developed primarily from college websites and contact with individual offices.


  • Step 4 imentor develops text messages based on tip sheet information
    Step 4: iMentor Develops Text Messages Based on Tip Sheet Information

    Enrollment Tip Sheets served as the foundation for texts on the following topics:

    Welcome

    FAFSA

    College Email

    Orientation

    Confirming College Plans

    Placement Exams

    Immunization Records

    Residency Forms

    Transportation

    Final Transcripts

    First Day of Class

    End of Campaign


    Step 5 launch texts for college success
    Step 5: Launch Texts for College Success Information

    • Students and mentors were introduced to the text message campaign and asked to opt-in.

    • Nearly everyone (93% of students & 89% of mentors) opted in to the text campaign. Of these…


    Texts for college success
    Texts for College Success Information

    • Each text message included a link to a college-specific resource whenever possible.

    • Students and mentors received texts simultaneously.

    Sample Mentee Text

    Sample Mentor Text


    Initial Results from Text Campaign Information

    450Replies from

    250Unique Participants

    173Requests for Help


    Initial results from text campaign
    Initial Results from Text Campaign Information

    • 97% of mentors found the campaign useful.


    Text campaign and quality of matriculation
    Text Campaign and Quality of Matriculation Information

    79% of mentees agreed or strongly agreed with the following statement: “The text message campaign helped make summer tasks to enroll in college clearer.”

    iMentor also piloted a Quality of Matriculation Survey to assess student preparation for college matriculation as well as completion of tasks associated with the text message campaign. Prior to the first day of class:

    • 83% of students reported that their financial aid process was complete.

    • 95% of students had registered for all classes.

    • 95% of students had attended orientation.


    Lessons learned
    Lessons Learned Information

    • Both students and mentors need more information

      “The texts were useful for sending quick updates - sometimes I didn't know enough about the topic to feel like I knew what to talk to my mentee about. Add'l info via email may have been helpful as well -- of course I know I can always reach out to my iMentor counselor!”

    • Students need texts to start earlier

      Students need to receive texts before they graduate in order to reinforce that they can ask for help as well confirm that phone numbers are correct.

    • Both students and mentors need matriculation steps to be made visible as soon as possible.


    Roundtable Discussion Questions Information

    • What surprised you about this case study?

    • What information do mentors need to be able to support students in their transition to college? How can technology facilitate mentors getting this information?

    • How could a texting component strengthen your mentoring program? What are some potential drawbacks/concerns?

    • How can technology engage family members or other support systems in the college search, application, and matriculation process?


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