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Articles: Enrollment & Retention

Adult students engage with their instructor at Lipscomb’s behavioral assessment center, which uses tactics traditionally used in the corporate world to identify and to award credit for incoming students’ life experiences.

A series of initiatives championed by Gov. Bill Haslam in Tennessee—home of the Tennessee Promise free community college initiative—promotes higher education to learners of all ages.

The Reconnect + Complete initiative for degree completion aims for an elusive demographic: non-traditional students, many with families and careers, whose college experiences were cut short by illness, financial troubles or other issues.

Texas A&M University’s campaign to raise $4 billion for research, facilities and scholarships represents the largest-ever fundraising effort in a state known for going big. It’s also the second largest effort announced by a higher education institution.

Columbia University students concerned with hunger on campus launched two initiatives this fall—one involving a mobile app—that help provide struggling classmates with meals.

The Emergency Meal Fund allows students on Columbia’s meal plan to donate up to six unused meals per semester. Any Columbia undergraduate or graduate student can register to receive a donated meal, no questions asked.

Students can request a maximum of six per term, and meal passes can be used at one of three residential dining halls.

The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success aims to make the college application process more relevant.

Over the years, college applications have become increasingly similar, with seemingly generic questions and check-boxes that often leave prospective students to wonder, “What does this have to do with me?” That’s part of what the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success aims to change.

J. Jeffrey Campbell is the director of the San Diego State University’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management School’s Master’s Program.

The online education world is becoming accepted by more institutions than ever, and for good reason. It has the attributes desired to grow an organization’s influence and positive impact without the historical linear rise in costs.

This business model is reserved not just for the for-profit, office park-type campus operations, but also for long-standing renowned educational institutions. I will champion this movement as director of the San Diego State University’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management School’s Master’s Program.

A leadership academy developed for students who are doing well academically at Thomas College helps ensure they also feel connected socially. This focus on low-risk students has resulted in greater retention rates over a three-year period.

For decades, colleges and universities have used big data to track high-risk students and intervene as needed. Now a growing number of institutions are using data tools to track and analyze another group: successful students.

Marc C. Whitt is director of development communications at the University of Kentucky

Congratulations, you’ve landed your first job as a college’s chief public relations and marketing officer. It’s a grand role loaded with ocean-size opportunities and responsibilities.

I got my first director’s position in 1988 when I joined the staff at Georgetown College in Kentucky. Up until then I had been a one-person shop.

John Gerdy is author of "Ball or Bands: Football vs. Music as an Educational and Community Investment." He also served as an NCAA legislative assistant and associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference.

Here’s a question every educational institution must consider. How do you continue to build and enhance the brand of an educational institution by focusing on an activity that scrambles kids’ brains?

Orientation and engagement activities introduced by Iowa Lakes Community College administrators have driven down the student loan default rate. President Valerie Newhouse says the two trends are intertwined.

Community college students who take out the smallest loans default at the highest rates, and many borrowers who get into trouble make no effort to fix their problems.

Those are two findings in a new report, “A Closer Look at the Trillion,” which calls for institutional and federal policy changes to help students and community colleges better manage debt.

An Association of American Universities study found that 12 percent of students across 27 universities had experienced sexual assault by force or incapacitation since enrollment, and that 17 percent of seniors had experienced this type of sexual assault while at college. Doctoral candidate and researcher Sara Carrigan Wooten says the report comes as no surprise.

Like it or not, we spend a lot of time on planes and in airports as we travel to campuses across the Nation and around the world. Over the 2015 summer session we sensed winds of change in the aeronautics industry – read as, devising new global security measures; retrofitting outdated air fleets; and creating safe and enjoyable air travel experiences.

Professional and continuing education students at Oregon State University can earn a digital badge for completing a course, workshop or certificate program.

More colleges and universities now offer digital badges as a form of micro-credential or “subdegree” to students who pass individual courses or certifications, and want to show potential employers what they’ve learned. The programs target professionals needing a skills boosts and hobbyists.

Brian E. Cartier is CEO of the National Association of College Stores, based in Oberlin, Ohio.

With student debt in the trillions and other economic concerns looming over families, college stores often bear the brunt of public anger over course material costs. But stores are working harder than ever to provide students with affordable options that will help them learn, succeed and get that coveted degree.

produced when colleges engage students, faculty and staff in the notion of vocational callings.

In the eyes of many, higher education has become an industry focused on a singular goal—career training—and college students these days forgo the big questions about who they are and how they can change the world. But sociology professor Tim Clydesdale says higher education can retain its deeper cultural role.

Fulfilling a connection need: Troy University’s Trojan Cafe (left) has had more than 19,000 users in the past year, and Northern Virginia Community College’s virtual student union (right), still in expansion mode, has had about 500 users so far.

For all the advantages of online learning—flexibility, personalization and affordability among them—there can be downsides for some students. Online students may feel isolated and disconnected from their peers and from their college or university—and risk losing the engagement so crucial to student success.

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