Coe partners with College Possible’s Catalyze Program to enhance success for low-income students

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or

2018-01-31 10:40:37 - General

College Possible logoCoe College has partnered with College Possible's Catalyze Program, allowing the institution to provide additional support for low-income students. The innovative program will provide Coe with additional resources and create a systematic program to help ensure students succeed and graduate, paving the way for successful futures. Coe was chosen as one of only seven colleges or universities in the nation selected to participate in the Catalyze Program for the 2018-19 academic year.

Coe's involvement in the Catalyze Program is the latest example of the college's strong commitment to both educational access and success for students. Coe recently received a $650,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its S-STEM Program to provide scholarships for low-income, academically talented students to study in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The Catalyze and S-Stem programs will complement each other, and represent significant new resources to enhance student academic support on the Coe campus.

Catalyze was developed by College Possible, a nonprofit organization based in Minnesota dedicated to closing the degree divide between low-income and higher-income students. With sites in six major cities, College Possible serves more than 15,000 low-income students annually, providing coaching and support from their junior year of high school through college graduation. As a result, College Possible students are four times more likely to earn their degrees than their low-income peers.

Nationally, one-third of college enrollees are low-income students, yet these students are graduating at rates significantly lower than their higher-income peers. To help close this achievement gap, College Possible launched a new partnership model called Catalyze in 2016. The Catalyze Program is based on the belief that the organization's innovative approach to increasing college success for low-income students can be embedded on college campuses and scaled to serve many more students. Catalyze has a capacity-building focus, rather than direct service, which will enable colleges and universities to use the tried-and-true College Possible model to develop and expand their own resources to support their low-income students from matriculation through graduation.

As an early Catalyze partner, Coe will receive training and support from College Possible to hire recent college graduates as program coaches. The Coe program will utilize two AmeriCorps members as near-peer coaches. Through the program, Coe will also have access to College Possible's curriculum and coaching resources focused on improving retention and graduation rates of low-income students.

At Coe, the Catalyze Partnership Champions will be English Professor and Associate Dean for Student Academics Gina Hausknecht, and Music Professor Marc Falk, who also serves as Learning Commons Program Director. Director of Campus Life Laura Van Buer will be the coach supervisor, working closely with the AmeriCorps near-peer coaches. The Catalyze program at Coe will be tailored to the unique needs of the college.

"Through our partnership with Catalyze, Coe will have access to proven methods in coaching low-income students on their journey to earning a college degree," said Hausknecht. "We are pleased to be early adopters of the Catalyze Program, and we know it will be beneficial to many students on the Coe campus."

Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe's vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.