Partnerships to Achieve Student Success National Cohorts

Third Sector and states are designing strategies to re-engage and help underserved students complete their higher education 

The Cohorts

During the first Partnerships to Achieve Student Success (PASS) national cohort in 2019, with funding from the Kresge Foundation, Third Sector worked with Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, and Ohio to innovate new, outcomes-based approaches to identifying and supporting various groups of students with historically low completion rates in getting to and through college.

As a result of the cohort, the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative launched the Finish What You Started Adams County pilot, which provides social, financial, and career supports to help adult learners 25 and older with some college, no degree – particularly those identifying as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino/a, and Native American – return to higher education and complete a degree or certificate. Third Sector continues to work with the Ohio Department of Higher Education, with support from the Kresge and ECMC Foundations, to pilot similar investments in wraparound student supports for Ohio National Guard members.

Building upon the work of the 2019 PASS Cohort, Third Sector is currently partnering with the ECMC Foundation and Education Strategy Group to support the second cohort of states: Alabama, Michigan, and Rhode Island. Through the 2022 PASS Cohort, states are developing a deep understanding of adults 25 and older with some college experience, but no degree in their state and designing customized solutions that improve their ability to more effectively serve all returning adults, no matter what led to breaks in their education, and eliminate equity gaps between different groups of adults.

Recognizing that adults have unique needs and challenges that prevent them from enrolling in and completing college, we are supporting our PASS Cohort partners in taking a population-first approach, designing strategies that enable them to develop a deeper understanding of lived experiences of adult learners as well as examine root and systemic causes of lower degree attainment.

PASS Cohort States

Both the 2019 and 2022 cohorts have consisted of five to six months of cross-cohort learning and field building via virtual convenings – where participants can leverage each other’s expertise and ideas – as well as one-on-one technical assistance and coaching with Third Sector that results in customized implementation plans. Read more about our cohort model here

For more information about the PASS Cohorts, please contact 

Our PASS Cohort Partners

Resources & Convenings

2019 PASS Cohort

  • PASS 2019 National Cohort Project Summary
  • Cohort Webinars - To view webinars hosted for the cohort, visit this page. Webinars include:
    • Exploring PFS with Student Support Services - Aug. 21, 2019
    • Pay for Success “101” - Oct. 22, 2019
    • Funding in PFS Projects - Oct. 30, 2019
    • Services with an Evidence-Base and Procurement Implications - Nov. 13, 2019
    • Importance of PFS Pilots in Order to Launch PFS Projects - Dec. 3, 2019
    • PFS in Higher Education National Cohort Final Presentations - Dec. 11, 2019