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Student Retention

8/13/2015

Colleges and universities are under intense pressure to boost retention and completion rates, and national research has shown that students who are highly engaged on campus are more apt to graduate. By using student data and predictive analytics effectively, institutions can improve retention rates by identifying students needing early intervention and proactively helping them succeed.

Dealing with covering financial shortfalls in student packages, managing tuition refunds and providing excellent customer support with small staffs are common problems business offices face. This web seminar, originally broadcast on May 8, 2014, featured a financial leader who explained how her institution adapted department policies as enrollment continued to rise. She also discussed the positive impact that providing payment plan options to students and pending aid tracking had on her institution.

DeeAnn Wenger

There are two major concerns that seem to be the most popular worries of students and the general public: The rising cost of tuition and student debt.

One proven way to improve retention is by supplementing traditional academic advising with student success coaching. Student success coaching helps students fit school into life and life into school while building up the skills they need to be successful, including study skills, time management, and stress management. As institutions explore the possibility of starting coaching programs to improve student outcomes, there are several challenges they will face.

Fewer and fewer institutions are meeting students’ financial need. Per The College Board’s “Trends in College Pricing 2013,” the average net tuition and fee price for students attending four-year public institutions increased by an estimated $1,180 (in 2013 dollars) between 2009-10 and 2013-14.

Remedial programs across the country are getting overhauled by educators and lawmakers hoping to keep more two- and four-year college students on track for graduation.

The changes come as research shows that while many community college students are made to take—and pay for—at least one remedial course before they start compiling credits, those who take the courses are more likely to leave school without earning a diploma.

As students’ expectations for service increase, so does the pressure on an institution to keep enrollment numbers up. The administrative team at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana decided that to keep retention at a high level, it was necessary to provide a seamless, personalized customer service experience to its more than 200,000 enrolled and prospective students.

With the goal of attracting high numbers of international students, Arizona State University needed a solution to interest prospective students on multiple levels. With Campus Management’s Talisma CRM system, ASU was able to transform its admissions and marketing processes by streamlining and automating certain communications. In this web seminar, originally presented on January 17, 2013, an administrator from ASU described how the institution optimized recruiter productivity, as well as maximized student engagement through the utilization of multiple communications channels.

Could the growing popularity of MOOCs cause retention troubles? Yes, if companies and schools come up with a way to offer credit for the courses, experts say.

Jennifer Beyer, a solutions consultant at Hobsons, expects the issue to start appearing if credit is offered, and also if access is no longer free.

In President Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address, he made it clear that increasing college graduation rates would be a main priority of his administration. In the months that followed, “MOOC” became the buzzword of the year, bringing online learning to the forefront of the education conversation. But whether they’re massive and open or they enroll 12 students, online courses have traditionally given institutions trouble in the area of retention—an issue that could dampen the goal of leading the world with the highest share of college graduates by 2020.

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