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Your Weekly EdSight: How Franklin Pierce University Boosted Retention by 14 Points

Four years ago Franklin Pierce's student retention was 59%. Since then the University increased first-year, full-time student retention to 73% and successfully sustained this record through the pandemic and despite national persistence falling.

How did they do it? Meet Rocky.

In addition to a dedicated student success team, the university also relied on the help of Rocky — a virtual staff member — to support students in a personalized and timely way. Their SMS chatbot built specifically for retention (powered by EdSights), stepped in and made sure that students were still at the forefront of the university's experience.

With no human lift, Rocky ensured continuous communication and personalized resources for students. Through a framework that combines artificial intelligence, behavioral science, and texting, the bot supported students across four areas.

By asking questions about their wellness, financial distress, academic fit, and social engagement, Rocky learned about each student and was able to automatically complete targeted interventions tailored to individual’s needs. While doing so, the bot uncovered institutional insights and patterns around student needs.

Three of Rocky's Key Interventions:

  1. Rocky identified 30 students who were struggling with food insecurity, informed them of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, and connected them to their Dean

  2. Rocky helped 47 students get an internship by connecting them to Career Services

  3. Rocky identified 24 students with poor mental health and connected them to Counseling Services, as well as shared helpful words of encouragement

95% opt-in rate, 53% student engagement and 50+ retention interventions

What’s Next?

We recently deployed EdSight’s Spring Semester Persistence Check-In asking over 200,000 students nationwide about their intent to return for the fall semester and what may be impacting their decisions. Next week we’ll provide some of the key highlights!



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