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4 Ways to Transform Student Success and Persistence Efforts


A college degree is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Unfortunately, colleges increasingly have a problem with student persistence. In fact, nearly a third of students at four-year institutions don’t have a degree after six years.

One reason is that there are more underserved communities attending college with fewer resources, increasing the likelihood that students won’t graduate. According to the Pell Institute, just 11 percent of students from the low-income group earned bachelor’s degrees within six years compared with 58 percent of students who came from the highest-income group. How can we help students control costs so they’re more likely to graduate?

Institutions may not be able to address every barrier to graduation, but they should tackle matters they can control. Read about four strategies for supporting student persistence:

1. Improve information aimed at transfer students

Transfer students are one of the fastest growing segments of enrolled students, with 40 percent of students transferring at some point in their college careers. Institutions should ensure their website and the experience it delivers reflects transfer-friendliness and makes it easy for students to find degree pathways, match their interests with a degree program, and calculate transfer credit scenarios to reduce the number of lost credit hours.

2. Match students with the right careers

Student perception that their degree has clear ROI is key to persistence. Exposing students to the realities of the job market and increasing access to cost-benefit data motivates students to continue on their academic journey and gives them a tangible outcome to strive toward. Institutions that organize and align career outcomes and program information on their websites demonstrate that they are focused on the ultimate outcome—employment. Institutions can better target retention efforts on student career interests by storing student search information in the CRM or SIS.

3. Reduce course availability barriers

A student’s inability to register for courses needed to graduate increases time-to-completion and the likelihood that the student will drop out or withdraw. Students with a registration process that enables them to easily plan around competing demands for their time, transportation, childcare, and work and family responsibilities are more likely to complete their degree. Modern student scheduling technologies also provide insight into course supply and demand so institutions can proactively adjust course scheduling to reduce support requests.

4. Provide more effective advising

The challenge for many advising departments is to deliver support services at scale. Block scheduling is one method schools use to support students. Advisors are assured that students take the right courses at the right time, and students can add additional courses onto their basic schedule or alter course sections. Advisors can also assemble a list of courses and recommend them to students, so appointments can go beyond scheduling discussions to resolve issues related to their academic interests and services and future goals.

Discover how you can help learners succeed by matching them with the right programs, courses, careers, and schedule—contact today.


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