Private college boosts enrollment with new approach to student financial aid filing
- Houston Baptist University was able to increase student retention by nearly 3% over the last two years, thanks to a new initiative which helps students to properly complete student financial aid forms.
- Inside Higher Ed reports on Project Day One, a program in which the school bridges technology gaps via a campus-wide event to encourage students to complete forms by the first day of class to expedite loan processing and to provide a complete picture of what aid may be available.
- HBU, which serves a predominantly Hispanic student body, also reports a decline in first-year student retention, which they say is a byproduct of a changing economy and some students being empowered to make wise financial decisions about college earlier in the process, but which is traditionally the period in which student attrition is highest across the industry.
School leaders seeking more engagement with low-income and minority students will have to develop similar programming to ensure financial stability for entering first-year students. All of the analytics and intrusive advisement available will not help if students cannot afford the raw costs of attending college or the costs of staying connected to campus resources, such as transportation and costs for materials.
Students do not become wealthy by going to college, and the more schools can connect students with resources independent of campus aid, the better chance they will have at retaining the students who can afford the education and help others to make smarter decisions which do not negatively impact graduation rates or postgraduate employment data.
- Inside Higher Ed Up front for retention