- Hobsons on Monday announced the acquisition of Starfish Retention Solutions, a leading student advising systems provider in the higher ed space.
- Starfish's platform pinpoints at-risk students and their problem areas before prescribing services they can use to improve.
- Starfish is used by over 4.5 million students and 250 colleges and universities, and its purchase by Hobsons gives it an in with 10,000 schools and higher ed institutions worldwide.
The acquisition, DC Inno reports, will also see Starfish founder and CEO David Yaskin take on a leadership role with Hobsons.
Graduation rates are becoming increasingly important for higher ed institutions as the value of a college degree is deliberated amid a changing business model. For example, ratings systems, like the one proposed by President Barack Obama that would be tied to funding, place varying degrees of importance on schools' grad rates. And debate around growing student loan debt is further complicated when you consider how many of those students may not have even completed a degree.
With that in mind, it's easy to see why Hobsons would bring a leading retention service provider under its umbrella. Starfish's services are also complementary to Naviance, Hobsons' college planning tool that, in part, helps high school students get an idea of what institutions they might get into based on their own analytics and those of previous students.
The impact graduation rates can have is something higher ed institutions would be wise to address sooner rather than later. After all, poor ratings can potentially hurt enrollment, and with the changes to the higher ed business model alluded to above — another being that alternatives to large-enrollment gen-ed courses could replace those classes for many, thus harming a major source of institutional income — universities will want all of the students they can get.