- A report from RPK Group estimates that better retention could help colleges and universities save around $1 million each year, and that predictive analytics can help, writes Ed Tech: Focus on Higher Ed.
- The report cites a number of tools that can help institutions do this, including alternate delivery and instructional models. It also mentions support tools like integrated planning and advising for student solutions that use predictive analytics for degree planning, advising, academic alerts and more.
- University of Wisconsin–Madison Chief Data Officer Jason Fishbain says at his institution, data is also being looked at for more than just retention, with academic planning and facilities management a current focus.
Data provided by predictive analytics tools has given higher ed an advantage when it comes to seeing how a prospective student might perform if enrolled, identifying problem areas in a given course for struggling students and a number of other areas. But keeping students engaged through completion goes beyond the classroom, and institutions like UW-Madison are getting ahead of the curve in using it to factor things like student preferences into the higher ed experience.
Predictive analytics, however, isn't a be-all, end-all, magic bullet solution. Colleges and universities are increasingly serving a new "traditional" student who may also be a working adult or caring for a family, thus requiring them to take courses on a different schedule. As George Mason University VP for Academic Innovation & New Ventures Dr. Michelle Marks noted on a panel at the ASU+GSV Summit in May, this can require extending operational hours or even automating some processes at key campus offices like the bursar or financial aid. As demographics shift, institutions will need to take even more individualized approaches to how they meet the needs of the varying types of students they primarily serve.