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Big Data on Campus to Decline Dropout Rates?

New programs are helping colleges understand their students better.

(NewsUSA) – What if colleges could predict whether students would drop out of college before they had a chance to? How helpful would this information be in reducing dropout rates and increasing graduation rates?

Well, a new system may be able to help do just that.

“We have identified factors that can be predictors of student success, which gives colleges the ability to flag at-risk students,” says Eric Reich of Higher One’s Campus Labs platform. “Now, thanks to Higher One’s Campus Labs platform, colleges are able to use sophisticated data analysis techniques to understand more about students.”

Clues to how students are doing include how often they participate in campus activities (like sporting events or student organizations), how often they use campus services (such as checking in at the financial aid office, career center or computer labs) and how engaged they are with their own course work (providing course feedback or visiting professors during office hours).

All of these actions create data that institutions can capture, and all of these actions have been shown to increase the likelihood of a student to graduate. It makes sense, but only in recent years have schools embraced the technology that can gather and analyze these data so the college can really identify at-risk students and “tweak” their programs to help.

“Using Campus Labs, an advisor can actually detect patterns of students who are not successful and intervene to give them the guidance at the critical time — before it’s too late,” says Reich.

Just look at Northern Arizona University, which recently partnered with Higher One to help the University collect data, collaborate across divisions, embrace student assessment and ultimately guide decisions by administrators.

“Freshman outreach has been very successful for us,” says Erin Grisham, executive director of educational support service at Northern Arizona. “Students we meet with retain at higher rates than those we don’t meet with.”

For more information, visit www.higherone.com/campuslabs.

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