Eduventures Estimates that American Colleges and Universities Lose $6.6 billion in Tuition Alone to First-year Student Attrition

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New Report on Predicted Retention Rates Draws on Data Points Related to Academics, Affordability, and the Campus Environment

Analyzing the Transformation of Higher Education

According to Heather O’Leary, “there are a number of factors that impact first-year student retention and we advocate an integrated approach that includes both academic and non-academic programming and analysis."

Eduventures, Inc., the leading research and advisory firm that is focused exclusively on analyzing the forces that are transforming higher education, today revealed data from a new report that focuses on key findings relevant to the retention issue.

In a single year, Eduventures estimates that American colleges and universities lose $6.6 billion in tuition alone to first-year student attrition. With so much on the line, retention has fast become a crucial priority. In an Eduventures review of 250 colleges’ strategic plans, retention appeared in 87% of them and marked a larger year-over year increase than any other initiative. Clearly, everyone is talking about retention, but do they know what questions to ask?

In a newly published report, Eduventures Insights: Strategies to Win the Retention Race, the best practices of high performing public universities highlighted the following strategies:
1.    A campus-wide retention strategy starts at the top. A successful retention strategy requires making tough decisions—who to admit, what to spend, how to measure—that can pit priorities against one another.
2.    Institutions must weigh recruiting for fit against enrollment goals. In today’s competitive recruitment environment, a selective strategy requires sacrificing high-risk enrollments.
3.    Collect data systematically; analyze data creatively. A data audit can identify gaps in data collection to inform a strategy for a comprehensive, cross-campus approach.
4.    Deploy resources to prioritize at-risk populations. Focus support programs on the most at-risk populations to ensure that they have the biggest impact.
5.    Intervene early for the greatest impact. In many districts, struggling K-12 systems are not adequately preparing students for college-level study. Rather than waiting until students enroll, some colleges intervene as early as 11th grade to provide remedial education.

Eduventures has done extensive research on this issue. According to Heather O’Leary, Principal Analyst focused on Retention Strategies at Eduventures, “there are a number of factors that impact first-year student retention and we advocate an integrated approach that includes both academic and non-academic programming and analysis.” A full comparison of predicted and actual retention rates from 1,100 schools can be found at http://www.eduventures.com. The colleges profiled in this report represent a subset of “high performers.” These colleges reported first-year retention rates above what we predicted, effectively beating the retention odds.

About Eduventures
Eduventures is the leading research and advisory firm that is focused exclusively on analyzing the forces that are transforming higher education. Building on twenty years of success in working with education leaders, Eduventures provides forward-looking and actionable research based on proprietary market data, and advisory services that support both strategic and operational decision-making. Our recommendations and personalized support enable clients to understand the top traits of leaders in critical disciplines and to evaluate the opportunities presented by new technologies. For more information about Eduventure’s research, practice areas and team, visit us at http://www.eduventures.com.

Members of the media who wish to receive a copy of the full report can contact Ellen Slaby, Vice President of Marketing at eslaby(at)eduventures(dot)com.

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Ellen Slaby
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