The key to student persistence at community colleges

How the right text messages keep community college students on track to succeed

We’re excited to announce the results of a partnership with GSU Perimeter College that shows how Mainstay is impacting student success for community college students.

Our recent RCT (randomized controlled trial) demonstrates a significant increase in the completion of important tasks related to college persistence when students received timely support from empathetic chatbots.

These outcomes confirm the objective impact of timely, relevant, and non-judgmental support in the lives of students.

Want to see how Mainstay can deliver similar results at your school?

The results speak for themselves

66% more students attended a "Comeback Camp" for academic support

14% Students were 14% more likely to register early for the fall 2021 semester

16% Students were 16% more likely to file their FAFSA by January 1

4.6% Students were 4.6% more likely to register early for the spring 2021 semester

18.5K This RCT reached a large, diverse community college population

Stronger outcomes for non-traditional students

Perimeter College is a two-year school that serves a diverse student population of more than 18,500. Almost 28 percent of Perimeter’s students are the first in their families to attend college — and 58 percent of Perimeter’s students attend school part-time while working or supporting families.

During the 2020-21 academic year, Mainstay partnered with GSU to message students at the Perimeter campuses about available support services — like supplemental instruction sessions — and reminders about important deadlines.

Messaging students early in the semester to encourage them to register had a significant effect on student actions. Two-year college students in particular benefit by registering early because it allows them to secure spots in required courses or schedule their course load around home and work schedules.

What we learned

Connecting directly with students makes a difference! Through our RCT, we identified 3 elements that were crucial to student success:


Early outreach

The sooner we reached out to students, the better the outcomes.

more likely to register early for the spring 2021 semester

more likely to register early for the fall 2021 semester


Targeted support

Messages promoting specific, relevant academic support services were more effective than general messaging.

attendance increase at an academic support “Comeback Camp” event due to encouraging reminders

Personalized messages

Specific, actionable messages that notified students of an issue or flag on their account were effective at getting them to resolve that issue quickly.

increase in attendance of academic advising sessions

reduction in the likelihood of being dropped for nonpayment as a result of messages notifying students to take action

Find out how Mainstay can help your students achieve similar results.

What students are saying