Minnesota’s Metro State University Launches Near-Peer Coaching Initiative to Boost Transfer Student Success

Collaboration with College Possible’s pioneering Catalyze program will tap alumni as coaches to help first-generation and transfer students thrive on campus

Saint Paul, Minn. (FEBRUARY 10, 2022) -- Metropolitan State University (Metro State), a federally-recognized Minority-Serving Institution that is ranked as the best social mobility college in Minnesota and in the top three percent in the nation announced an ambitious, new initiative to boost retention rates among first-generation and transfer students. Through a partnership with College Possible, a national nonprofit that connects students with near-peer college mentors, Metro State will provide nearly 1,400 incoming transfer students with access to coaching and mentoring programs starting in February 2022.

College Possible has a 20-year history of training AmeriCorps service members as college access and success coaches to help aspiring college students from low-income backgrounds enroll in -- and complete -- college. The near-peer coaches are recent college alumni who provide targeted and proactive, one-on-one support as students navigate the complex world of college completion. Designed to scale its proven model of college success programming with colleges and universities, College Possible’s Catalyze program now works with 8 institutions and nearly 5,000 of students around the country. Catalyze partner institutions have seen up to a 14 percent increase in student retention rates and up to a 16 percent increase in retention rates amongst first year students.

“Through Catalyze, College Possible is bringing an effective, research-based program to our campus. The 88 percent of our student population who have transferred to Metro State have boundless potential. But we know that one-to-one support and mentoring are key to their success,” said Amy Gort, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. “Catalyze’s near-peer model allows us to add another layer of personalized support to make the transition to Metro easier for an ambitious and diverse student population. It will enable us to tap the collective power of an exceptional group of alumni who will serve as the near-peer coaches to enhance and strengthen our campus culture and community.”

Metro State currently serves more than 10,000 students throughout Minnesota and more than 50 percent of their students identify as Pell-eligible and first-generation students. Metro State’s Catalyze partnership builds on the institution's ongoing efforts to provide support to transfer students eligible for financial aid, and first-generation college students that may have barriers towards acclimating to university life.

“For more than two decades, we have seen the transformative effects of near-peer coaching on not just college access, but outcomes,” said Craig Robinson, CEO of College Possible. “We look forward to working with Metro State and being part of the continued push to help transfer students navigate the challenges of transferring colleges to ensure they complete their degree.”


About College Possible: As one of the largest and most successful college access and success programs in the country, since 2000 College Possible has helped put more than 59,000 students from disinvested communities on the path to economic mobility via completion of a college degree. Its proven near-peer coaching model, delivered by recent college graduates serving as AmeriCorps members, provides high-touch interventions proven to help students navigate and overcome the most common barriers to college access, retention and degree completion. Nationwide, College Possible students are three times more likely to earn a bachelor's degree within six years than their peers from similar backgrounds. Headquartered in Saint Paul, MN, College Possible operates: regional sites in Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; and Seattle, WA; College Forward in Austin, WA; and has Catalyze partnerships in California, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee. Learn more at CollegePossible.org.

About Metropolitan State University: Metropolitan State University, a member of Minnesota State, is the Twin Cities public, urban, comprehensive state university providing lifelong learning, and competitive academic and professional degree programs at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels. Learn more at metrostate.edu.


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