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Blowing the Whistle on the College Completion Crisis

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

As many as 6,000 students drop out of college every day. Every day!

Despite the proliferation of higher ed stories in the media — from institutional rankings to college closures to success on the basketball court — this is the one that never receives enough attention yet represents a loss of as much as $41 Billion dollars in tuition revenue per year.

There clearly is a persistence and college completion crisis in this country. Only half of students who start college will graduate with a degree. Those students are then saddled with debt that is exponentially more difficult to pay off. For students from traditionally under-served minority communities, these outcomes are even more dire.

To solve this crisis, it will take a paradigmatic change in how higher education thinks about and approaches student success. Institution-specific solutions aren’t going to cut it. The sense of belonging is important, but the solution isn’t as simple as students feeling the “right fit” on campus. Unexpected issues that arise — changes in financial or family situations, or an overall shift in mindset — are not adequately addressed by current processes on campuses alone.

At EdSights we are proposing a radical shift. There is plenty of aggregate collected data about a student — from grades and attendance to zip codes and meal card swipes. When we stop our analysis here, we rely on guesswork to determine how individual students feel. At EdSights, we propose a radical shift. We must start listening and collecting data from the student, not just about the student. This will help us understand the key drivers impacting student persistence.

It takes a village to support student success. Academic Affairs and Student Affairs professionals have a shared responsibility to support student success nationwide. That is why we are launching the single largest student persistence research study of its kind, using our data-informed methodology based on four key drivers to maximize student success:

  1. Academic Engagement

  2. Financial Distress

  3. Wellness

  4. Engagement

Participation in this study will provide participating institutions with key insights for their campus and benchmarks across their category and the country. Additionally, students in this study will benefit from our proprietary outreach that connects them with resources and staff who can help them be successful. (All while prioritizing the time of overworked Student Affairs and Academic Affairs professionals.)

The findings of our study — and the broader impact on student success — will undoubtedly be deeper and more meaningful as more institutions participate.

As a country we have a shared responsibility to ensure that students who start their college journey finish it in a timely manner to take full advantage of all the opportunities that a college degree will afford. A single student's failure is all of our failure and it is time for a fresh approach.

As part of this research initiative, EdSights will share weekly insights on our blog and across social media to help campus professionals make data-informed decisions for their campus, regardless of participation in our study.

We will culminate the study’s findings in a new annual report that will serve as a benchmark for student persistence and retention. The report will be released at our inaugural client summit next fall. We look forward to sharing details with you soon.

Finally, we are launching EdSighters the first shared community of higher education professionals that care deeply about supporting student outcomes. This community will benefit from a shared experience and focus on supporting and improving student outcomes. We encourage you to become an EdSighter today to show your commitment to student success and outcomes.

We look forward to taking this journey together.

By Carolina Recchi

Co-Founder and CEO at EdSights

Carolina moved to the US from Italy at 17 for college. As a first-generation US college student she experienced first-hand the hurdles of navigating higher education. Not knowing who to turn to for help as a student, she decided to build a technology that helps all students navigate college. Today, EdSights works with ~100 institutions and Carolina was named by Forbes one of the most influential people in education.



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