Pellissippi State Community College Engaged 86.7% of Students with Academic Support Text Messages

How a multi-campus community college leverages Modern Campus Signal Vine to increase student retention and GPA

About Pellissippi State Community College









first-year retention rate

The Challenge

Tennesse community colleges were asked to increase their retention and completion rates

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission issued a challenge to community colleges: develop and implement unique projects to support TN Promise scholarship recipients. Projects had to increase retention and completion rates at the community college. Institution also had to incorporate technology and a proactive advising model. Pellissippi State chose to meet the state’s challenge by using Signal Vine to connect with students.

We felt that texting would be the natural complement to a proactive advising model where we were going to meet with students frequently and provide the appropriate information and resource referrals as they need it.

Stephanie Baker-HardenCoordinator of Academic Support, California Institute of the Arts


Caseload Management

Pellissippi State divides its 1,500 TN Promise students into 12 caseloads, one for each advisor. They text back-and-forth through the platform with students in their caseloads about registration, scholarships and other topics.

Message Calendar

The Student Assistance Center jumpstarts its one-on-one outreach by sending reminders to all TN Promise students. These text messages are personalized to each student and look like they’re coming directly from an advisor’s cellphone—though they are sent in mass, allowing the small staff team to efficiently scale its communication. 

Message Content

Text messages frequently prompt responses and actions from students. For example, when the Center scheduled a text in May that said, “[First Name], just wanted to let you know that fall registration is underway. Were you planning on taking classes in the fall?," most student responses came back within 10 minutes.

Now, since students know that they can reach their advisors by text message, they use text messaging as a “catch-all", initiating conversations with their advisors on a wide variety of topics that keep students engaged and retained.  


Pellissippi State is easily able to measure and assess student engagement and message response rates in the Signal Vine dashboard. The average message response rate is 86.7%, with nearly half of students considered “highly engaged.”

Additionally, students who engage with their advisors through texts are more likely than their peers to register for the next semester of classes, pushing the community college closer to its retention and completion goals.

An additional benefit of the text campaign is improved academic performance. Students who participate in the text messaging program have higher GPAs than their peers by an average of .27 points after one semester of the program. The increases in persistence and GPA are measured after controlling for other variables.

Impact of Texting Messaging, by the Numbers




average increase in GPA



student response rate to texts


10 minutes

average response time


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About Modern Campus

Modern Campus is obsessed with empowering its nearly 2,000 higher education customers to thrive when radical transformation is required to respond to lower student enrollments and revenue, rising costs, crushing student debt, and administrative complexity.
The Modern Campus engagement platform powers solutions for non-traditional student management, web content management, catalog and curriculum management, student engagement and development, conversational text messaging, career pathways, and campus maps and virtual tours. The result: innovative institutions can create a learner-to-earner lifecycle that engages modern learners for life, while providing modern administrators with the tools needed to streamline workflows and drive high efficiency.
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