New Research from Tyton Partners Highlights Imperative of Higher Education Planning and Advising Reform, Provides Roadmap to Improve Retention & Completion

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Cross-field partnership with NACADA, NASPA and NACAC spotlights data-driven resources to support higher student retention and completion

As postsecondary student retention and completion rates in the US fail to improve at expected rates, there has been an increased focus on advising and specifically an approach called integrated planning and advising for student success (iPASS). Tyton Partners and the Babson Survey Research Group collaborated with The Global Community for Academic Advising (NACADA), Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) and National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to explore higher education advising and planning reform and to launch an initiative to improve student retention and completion. The report released today, Driving Toward a Degree: Establishing a Baseline on Integrated Approaches to Planning and Advising, is the largest publicly available data set on administrator perspectives and approaches to advising. It includes findings from a survey of more than 1,000 higher education administrators, advisors and faculty, identifying the rate of adoption of planning and advising solutions, and satisfaction with current technology providers. Accompanying the research is a newly launched data-driven resource for advising reform:

“There are a number of challenges students face during their drive toward a degree, and our survey found 82 percent of institutions see student retention and success as a primary objective,” said Gates Bryant, Partner of Tyton Partners. “Our hope for this initiative is that as institutions strive to reinvent their advising programs to leverage new technologies and ultimately better serve their students, this initiative will facilitate the implementation of intentional, measured approaches to improving postsecondary retention and completion rates.”

At the core of Driving Toward a Degree is the Advising Reform Roadmap, a five-step path for helping institutions assess their current situation, prioritize intervention methods and redefine their approach to advising. It also provides an institutional segmentation framework to place reform efforts in context. By examining leadership, advising capacity, advising coordination, technology and student engagement, institutions can have a better sense of the necessary steps to improve graduation rates. The participants in this research and action collaborative will continue to examine iPASS implementation (and corresponding barriers) over the course of the next year, and the website will serve as an information hub for institutions looking for guidance on strengthening their planning and advising services.

“We’ve found effective academic advising to be a critical component of student success,” said Charlie Nutt, Executive Director of NACADA. “The data in Driving Toward a Degree has the potential to support real change by helping institutions identify where they currently stand and ultimately chart a plan for improvement.”

Over the course of the next year, the website will feature updated content designed to help institutions develop and implement successful iPASS programs. Faculty, administrators and students are invited to share their #iPASS stories on Twitter as part of the initiative to cultivate powerful change and impact in planning and advising.

To explore the roadmap and dig into the research behind Driving Toward a Degree, please visit:

About Tyton Partners
Tyton Partners is the leading advisory firm to the global knowledge sector. With dedicated practices in investment banking and strategy consulting, the firm has an experienced team of professionals who deliver a unique spectrum of services from mergers and acquisitions and capital markets access to strategy development that helps companies, organizations, institutions and investors navigate the complexities of the education, media, and information markets. Tyton Partners leverages a deep foundation of transactional and advisory experience and unparalleled level of global relationships to make its clients’ aspirations a reality and catalyze innovation in the sector. For more information, visit or follow us @tytonpartners.

NACADA promotes and supports quality academic advising to enhance the educational development of students at higher education institutions. NACADA provides a forum for discussion, debate, and exchange of ideas pertaining to academic advising through events and publications. NACADA has over 13,000 members including professional advisors/counselors, faculty, administrators, graduate and undergraduate students.

NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Our work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories.

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), founded in 1937, is an organization of more than 15,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students as they make choices about pursuing postsecondary education. NACAC is committed to maintaining high standards that foster ethical and social responsibility among those involved in the transition process, as outlined in the NACAC Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP).

About Babson Survey Research Group
The Babson Survey Research Group in the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurial Research at Babson College conducts regional, national, and international research projects, including survey design, sampling methodology, data integrity, statistical analyses and reporting. Visit

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Liz Gossens
Communications Strategy Group
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