Higher Education Retention Survey Reveals Toughest Challenges Exist Early in Students' College Career

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Respondents to EducationDynamics survey also disclose key tools for keeping students on track.

It will also aid institutions in formulating concrete steps to help students overcome those obstacles and earn their degrees.

EducationDynamics, higher education's leading marketer focused on student prospecting, enrollment and retention, recently conducted a four-week Internet survey of a wide range of higher education institutions, in an effort to uncover their biggest challenges in student retention.

The survey polled 357 higher education administrators at schools in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and Guam. Seventy three percent of respondents were four-year institutions, and the group included a unique mix of private and public, for-profit and not-for-profit schools.

Respondents overwhelmingly reported that the majority of students who leave before completing their degrees do so in the first year, for a variety of reasons including financial hardship, poor grades and family responsibilities. EducationDynamics will release the full survey results on June 3rd at its inaugural National Dialog on Student Retention Conference in Atlanta, but here are a few key findings:

  • 77 percent of respondents see fostering student persistence to degree completion as a continuing challenge
  • 70 percent said the retention challenge is greatest during the first year of any program
  • High college costs and lack of student preparedness are the two toughest retention challenges to overcome
  • Family support, one-on-one counseling and personal attention, whether online or in-person, are key factors in keeping students on course

"These telling survey results will help educators and administrators focus on helping students identify obstacles early on," says Mark Shay, chief academic liaison at EducationDynamics. "It will also aid institutions in formulating concrete steps to help students overcome those obstacles and earn their degrees."

EducationDynamics' inaugural National Dialog on Student Retention Conference June 2-3, 2008 in Atlanta will bring together experts in student retention for all higher education venues including for-profit and not-for-profit institutions serving traditional and non-traditional students who seek degrees on campus or online. The conference will include keynote speeches, workshops, panel discussions and breakout sessions addressing a broad spectrum of retention challenges, and will also offer networking opportunities with higher education's experts in the area of student retention. For information or to register, visit http://www.educationdynamics.com/retention_conference/.

About EducationDynamics
EducationDynamics, a portfolio company of Halyard Capital, is the leading marketing and information services company dedicated to helping higher education institutions find, enroll and retain students. Its content-rich and highly visible education websites, including EarnMyDegree.com, eLearners.com, GradSchools.com, StudyAbroad.com, and its more than 50 special interest microsites, make EducationDynamics the premier provider of qualified prospective students for colleges and universities. In addition, the company offers a full suite of web-delivered services proven to drive enrollment growth and reduce student attrition. For more information, visit http://www.educationdynamics.com.

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