Ichabod Success Institute

Ichabod Success Institute
Washburn University
Academic Level
Issue Area
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Learning Community,
Summer Bridge


The Ichabod Success Institute seeks to prepare students for college coursework, supporting full-time and continuous enrollment, and building students’ social capital. To graduate low-income students, the program layers financial, personal, and academic supports. Program activities, such as the 5-week summer experience where students live on campus and take 6 credit hours for free, facilitate these goals by cultivating institutional integration, literacy skills, and a learning community.

Program Description

In 2016, Washburn University launched the Ichabod Success Institute (ISI) to address low degree attainment among underrepresented individuals in Topeka. Only 10% of Latinos in Topeka has a Bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 12% of African Americans and 29% of Whites. To help more underrepresented individuals earn a degree, ISI's provides wrap-around support for 20 first-generation, Pell-eligible students from Topeka Public Schools each year. 

Support begins 5-weeks prior to student's first semester and continues across their first two years.  ISI offers intensive tutoring and software designed to reduce or eliminate remedial math to advance students through coursework while encouraging full-time enrollment by providing advising, scholarships, and on-campus jobs. To build social capital, ISI provides a social worker, first-generation advisor, and community mentors. 

ISI's hosts two dinners yearly to introduce students’ families to the college setting, having advisors present and building relationships with students' support systems and answering families’ questions about the college experience. ISI serves Latinos through Spanish-fluent advisors and two free courses that facilitate college literacy and integration. In addition, summer programming cultivates belief among underrepresented groups that they belong at the university.


  • Improved readiness for college coursework: Only 11% of Ichabod Institute participants and 3% of Latino participants withdrew in year one, compared to 47% of Washburn University students with similar characteristics. In addition, cumulative GPA after two years is 2.99 for Institute students overall and 3.02 for Latino participants, compared to 2.40 for Washburn students.
  • Higher full-time enrollment: 85% of Ichabod Institute students and 86% of Latino participants complete 30 credits in their first year. Nationally, only 31% of students achieve this goal.
  • Increased retention and graduation: The Ichabod Institute’s 2016 cohort boasts a 92% student retention rate overall and 96% for Latinos, compared to Washburn University’s retention rate of similar students characteristics is 53%. Overall, 92% of Latinos in the cohort are on track to graduate with an associate degree in 3 years.

Latinos in Higher Education - 2024 Compilation of Fast Facts - web pop-up banner with "Learn More" button.