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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Student Retention

How Universities Are Using Data to Stop Students Dropping Out

As universities accept students from increasingly diverse backgrounds, institutions are finding new ways to target support effectively

Louise Tickle | June 30, 2015

According to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce), more than 8% of undergraduates drop out in their first year of study. This costs universities around £33,000 per student [Blogger's note: ~ U.S. $51,480 at today's exchange rate] – and costs students lost time, money (spent or borrowed), and the devastating confidence knock from failing. 

<more at; related link:  (America’s College Drop-Out Epidemic: Understanding the College Drop-Out Population, January 2014) [Abstract: Over 40% of full time four-year college students fail to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years, and many never complete their education. This paper describes this sizeable fraction of the U.S. higher education market and estimates counterfactual predicted probabilities of degree completion, had students made different initial postsecondary enrollment choices. Using data from the NLSY97, a rich nationally representative data set, we make several observations. First, policies aimed at increasing postsecondary degree attainment by encouraging college enrollment are likely to be unproductive, given that students who are currently not enrolling in postsecondary education have very low predicted probabilities of completion, due to their low academic preparedness. This holds true for enrollment in both two-year and four-year colleges. Second, we find that students who drop-out of four-year colleges generally also have very low predicted probabilities of completion, although this varies across student groups. Finally, we conclude that had four-year college drop-outs begun their postsecondary careers at a two-year college, their predicted probabilities of postsecondary degree completion would be significantly higher. While most of this increase in degree completion comes through increased associate’s degree attainment, about a third of four-year college drop-outs would have a higher chance of bachelor’s degree completion, had they begun college at a two-year institution. While our results are only a descriptive analysis, and should not be interpreted as causal findings, until more is understood about the types of students who drop-out of college and potential reasons why, there will likely be little progress in reducing the college failure rate in the U.S.>

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