“Over the past 20 years, more than 31 million students have enrolled in college and left without receiving a degree or certificate.”– A National Student Clearinghouse Research Center Report
“1,669 U.S. colleges and universities lost nearly $16.5 billion to student attrition in a single year.” – Educational Policy Institute Study
Colleges spend millions on student enrollment—but it’s often a losing investment with student attrition at an unprecedented high. The figures above are telling of the overwhelming number of students dropping out of colleges/universities across US.
Consequently, student retention has become a topmost priority with these universities and colleges which are putting their best foot forward to retain as many students as possible. They are seeking out strategies that work best to bring down drop-out rates without putting much strain on the support budgets.
Where Does the Problem Lie?
While every institution’s student attrition is influenced by certain specific factors, there are some common ones which are detrimental to all. For example, not engaging with enrolled students proactively, not having a robust student support ecosystem in place, not leveraging data-based insights about the at-risk learners etc.
Thus, the first step towards student retention is understanding the complex world of today’s non-traditional learner who dons multiple hats, juggles more responsibilities and has higher expectations from an institute. The whole support ecosystem at an institution should be implemented/ designed in a way that makes their educational journey easier as students that experience better support are more likely to persist and graduate.
The Way Forward:
· Predictive Analytics: Institutions should start with a thorough understanding of the reasons behind attrition rates at their campus. Predictive Analytics tools can come to their salvage to obtain this understanding. For example, Predictive analytics can help in analyzing student data to determine how they feel about the institution, if they are willing or not to remain on course and complete their programs, etc. Institutions should then leverage these insights to accurately predict at-risk students and intervene timely to retain them.
· Constant Student Engagement: For many students, a precursor to attrition is progressive disengagement from or failure to become engaged in the university/college environment. It is this challenge institution should constantly address. Proactive engagement is the key for an institute aspiring to increase student retention. An engagement effort could be as simple as sending your students reminders about approaching FAFSA deadlines or informing them about the introduction of a new online program.
· Leverage Technology to Meet Student Expectations: Institutions should capitalize upon the disruptive technology available in the market. They should focus on making the student experience simple and easy. For example, they should provide as many services as possible online, use chatbots to deliver 24×7 support as the simpler the student experience, the better it is for an institution.
· Relationship Marketing: This sort of approach entails viewing a student as a customer and engaging him/her like one. This student-oriented strategy is based on the assumption that it is far more cost-effective to retain the already enrolled students rather than recruiting new ones. The approach gives an institution a competitive edge and creates a trust-based relationship between the students and the institution and goes a long way in helping it retain students.
A One-Stop Solution for Student Retention:
Today a wide range of solutions and initiatives are being implemented across the US higher education landscape to drive persistence and student success.
BlackBeltHelp’s OneStop Student Retention is one such innovative, disruptive bundle of retention tools and services that deliver measurable results and ROI. OneStop Student Retention scales the fundamental gaps in an institute’s support infrastructure and uses AI and Predictive Analytics to help them achieve their retention and graduation goals.
OneStop Student Retention uses Predictive Analytics and Early Warning Analytics to send instant risk-based alerts about the faltering students, empowering an institution to develop targeted solutions and improve student persistence. The services component includes 24×7 inbound support and outbound campaign management where our highly-skilled advisors create sophisticated campaigns to drive your procrastinating students out of their inertia, re-engage the ones off-path, and lessen your faculty’s workload. Not only is OneStop Student Retention cost-effective, but it also yields concrete results increasing your student retention and can generate approx. 5x return on investment.
Learn more about it here.