- A new study from the American Council on Education makes the case for increased spending in instructional design as a method of investment for revenue-building capacity at colleges and universities.
- The study suggests investments in instructional expenditures can help to retain and to graduate more students, which allows institutions to reap more revenues through tuition and fees, textbooks sales, and food service. This also decreases the costs associated with recruiting students to fill in attrition gaps, which can add up to three times more than the cost of retention.
- The University of Central Florida and California State University – Los Angeles are offered as examples of how faculty training and outreach to minority students helps build retention models that save students money through hybrid course design, shorten time to graduation and cut costs associated with remediation courses and instruction.
Institutions can save a lot of money through improved course design and outreach efforts, but the ideas for investing in these areas typically come from the highest levels of administration. Leaders at community colleges, historically black institutions and other open access mission-based schools do the best job in the industry of retaining students with low resources and untapped academic ability, and should be looked to for best practices in engaging and keeping vulnerable students.
These methods also require institutions to develop strong cultural training and sensitivity modules, so that faculty and staff can more easily identify learning struggles or obstacles, and can more authentically communicate with students to resolve common issues which can disrupt degree persistence.