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Recruiting Intelligence

A Marketing Advantage: More Robust and Flexible Student Counseling

CompleteCollege America offers some interesting perspective on why so many U.S. academic institutions are struggling to increase their graduation rates. In its report "Time is the Enemy" the group reveals how the demands of life are shifting priorities and hurting students' abilities to complete their education in a streamlined, timely fashion and earn the degree. The report is focused on public universities in 29 States where their Governors have set a priority of increasing college graduation rates. From the report, we note:

  • There is a new American majority on campus. Seventy-five percent of students are juggling some combination of families, jobs and school while commuting to class (see graph 1).
  • Part-time students rarely graduate. Even when given twice as long to complete certificates and degrees, no more than a quarter make it to graduation day (see graph 2).

The report further states that students are taking too many credits and take too much time to complete their work. Excessive course-taking is slowing down progress toward certificates and degrees. According to the authors, remediation between the student and institution is broken, producing few students who ultimately graduate. Interestingly, this factor is not often heard when the topic of low graduation rates are discussed.

What can institutions do to support students who are taking on additional responsibilities to manage the cost of study? How can institutions build in more support services for older students returning to school while juggling adult responsibilities for family and job? Just offering the courses and degrees does not seem to be enough. Is there a more robust student advocate role necessary? Do your financial people understand the importance of graduation rates? Or are they evaluated solely on their ability to close near-term collection of tuition payments?

From our business perspective, understanding the broad set of student circumstances will help institutions reach out and market in appropriate and effective ways. Your messaging and your technology can hopefully assist in guiding and assisting students in selecting schools that can accommodate their need to learn and advance in their careers. But as this report highlights, we need a concerted effort to help more students complete their education. Student counseling and guidance is getting more complex.

Graph 1
More Robust and Flexible Student Counseling

Source: Completecollege.org "Time is the Enemy" Report

More Robust and Flexible Student Counseling

Source: Completecollege.org "Time is the Enemy" Report
Topics: Insights