- A new survey from Unit 4, a systems management company for higher education institutions, shows that student retention is a top priority for higher education leaders, with 73% of the 150 IT decision maker respondents reporting that their postsecondary campuses had shifted their organization structures to target student success, according to a press release from Unit 4.
- The survey also found 24% of institutions were reported to have shifted their enrollment approaches to target best-fit students, while 81% said the institution also invested in technology to support student success objectives.
- Though respondents clearly focus on student outcomes, only 37% of institutions use data warehouse and analytics to support those initiatives, and only 40% said that any decision to replace existing student information systems are aimed at enhancing student success.
As the value of the postsecondary degree is increasingly questioned and higher ed continues to see disruptions from shorter alternative credentialing options, it's incumbent upon administrators to consider how they can best serve the needs of their constituents — and one of these key areas is student success. It's evident that the majority of higher education leaders have already considered with reality, as shown in the Unit 4 survey, which only highlights how players in the industry who are not prioritizing student outcomes may fall behind.
Additionally, as public funding for higher education continues to dwindle and institutions — especially research campuses — feel the heat, it's essential that leaders find ways to show policymakers that their places of learning are essential in the marketplace and for the future of the workforce. While leaders are clearly investing student success, they perhaps are not performing best practice by not keeping data — with only a smaller percentage of institutions using analytical tools to measure outcomes. Institutions interested in further enhancing these outcomes can look to others that have already adopted it and seen success. For instance, Southern Connecticut State University has used pre-college experience data to help administrators and student affairs officials predict rates of retention, graduation and academic performance.