CEO of Starfish Retention Solutions Participates in White House Summit Calling for Plan of Action to Improve Higher Education Access and Completion

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Leaders from higher education, philanthropy, business, and city and state governments commit to specific goals to increase college opportunities for low-income and disadvantaged students

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Starfish is honored to take part in today’s White House summit. Our participation is a reflection of our years of working with hundreds of institutions to produce important outcomes in student success.

Starfish Retention Solutions, a leading student success company, announced its participation in a daylong event to convene at the White House today that is focused on coalescing support among academic, business, and civic leaders to make new commitments aimed at helping lower-income students. The event is scheduled to include remarks from the president, the first lady, and the secretary of education.

Participants will be making voluntary pledges to do more to help low-income students enroll in and complete college. These commitments will include improvements in remedial education success rates, increased enrollment of lower-income students, and ramped-up student support services, such as hiring more counselors or improving the delivery of student advising.

Through its participation in the summit, Starfish is committing to three initiatives that have been created with the intention of helping more students, including low-income students, reach their educational goals. Starfish commits to the following:

1.    Providing qualified researchers with anonymized versions of Starfish’s comprehensive data sets (including student engagement in instruction, student support referred and received, and student outcomes) from more than 220 colleges and universities. The research will be focused on identifying outreach and support strategies that help struggling students achieve greater success and persist in their education.

2.    Creating a new position of director of external relations to continue the company’s conversations with leading nonprofit organizations (e.g., Achieving the Dream) that help inform Starfish software and services with the latest research. Dr. Rosemary Hayes has been selected to fill this position. An example of this work is the automated generation of a Leading Indicators metrics recommended by the Education Trust so that colleges and universities have out-of-the-box analytics for every major student system in use.

3.    Developing a public domain Taxonomy of Student Support in collaboration with industry standards bodies and student services associations. This taxonomy will enable the detailed analysis of student support effectiveness across colleges and universities by providing a common language to describe and categorize student support activities. The adoption and promotion of the resulting standards within the Starfish software will allow detailed and rapid cross-institutional research and benchmarking of more than three million students annually in their paths to success.

Starfish Retention Solutions offers a software platform that enables higher education institutions to apply their data (e.g., generated in their student information system and learning management system, as well as by their faculty and staff) in a student success context. More specifically, the software is designed to harness the institution’s data to identify students who are struggling and then alert faculty and support staff that these students need help. The Starfish Enterprise Success Platform™ currently supports students at more than 220 institutions, including multiple statewide systems.

“Starfish is honored to take part in today’s White House summit. Our participation is a reflection of our years of working with hundreds of institutions to produce important outcomes in student success,” said David Yaskin, CEO of Starfish Retention Solutions. “The issues ahead of the higher education community, particularly with respect to improving access and completion for low-income students, are complex. In partnership with the White House, we are aligning our commitments to using powerful data to help institutions scale their student success programs to help more students finish what they start.”    

About Starfish Retention Solutions
Starfish Retention Solutions is a leading provider of student success systems. The Starfish Enterprise Success Platform™ consists of four software modules that collectively harness the power of the campus community in order to help students finish what they start. Specifically, the modules help institutions identify at-risk students in real time based on their daily coursework performance and faculty concerns, and then connect them to the resources designed to help (e.g., advising or tutoring), all while assessing which services and interventions are working. For more information, please call 703.260.1186 or visit

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John Plunkett
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