Pearl River Community College

How technology and curriculum reform help empower students

Pearl River Community College helps students reach their goals with guided pathways, enhanced advising, and online degree tracking. 

Pearl River Community College campus


  • A 3.8% increase in year-over-year retention
  • Improved student self-service and progress monitoring
  • Enhanced advising


Committed to improving student success and spurred by a state mandate, Pearl River Community College (PRCC) is combining the latest in higher education technology and evidence-based curriculum reform in the form of guided pathways.

In its effort to guide more of its students toward successful outcomes—from degree completion to transfer to updated skills leading to gainful employment—PRCC has streamlined its course offerings into eight plans of study, or “meta-majors.” That has helped narrow down the huge array of courses and majors that can be overwhelming and hard to navigate.

To help students stay on track, PRCC focused on strengthening its advising and degree-planning processes—two critical elements of the guided pathways model. So the college gave its busy advisors better tools and more holistic insight into their advisees’ progress. It also reduced barriers to transfer while giving students more targeted guidance and greater visibility into their degree progress.

Just one year into its reforms, Pearl River is seeing results. With widespread approval from students, staff, and faculty members, the college has already seen a 3.8 percent* increase in first-year, full-time retention rates.


Download this case to study learn more about how Pearl River used its ERP system and a degree-planning tool to implement guided pathways, improve advising, and help students navigate their degree progress.

“There are so many students who don’t know what they want to do,” says Martha Lou Smith, vice president for general education and technology services at PRCC. “Too many of them are not ready to make those kinds of decisions. So instead of saying to them, ‘You have to pick a major right now,’ giving them the pathway option helps them realize, ‘Oh, there are a lot of things I might want to do.’”

To help students stay on track, the college strengthened its advising and degree-planning processes—two critical elements of the guided pathways model. To transform those services, PRCC implemented Ellucian Degree Works™, an online degree-planning tool that integrates with the college’s Ellucian Banner® student information system (SIS).

Read the full customer story

Martha Lou Smith
Vice President for General Education and Technology Services
Pearl River Community College

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