Data + Coaching Model Improves Student Retention at Brenau University

What would a five percent lift in retention mean to your institution and your students? At Brenau University, it means adopting a data + coaching retention model to keep students moving toward graduation.

Recent Brenau graduate, Turrah Benton, met her enrollment and success coaches for the first time at commencement.
Recent Brenau graduate, Turrah Benton, celebrated graduation with her enrollment and success coaches. 

“Nearly half of students who pursue a college education leave before earning a degree, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. At Brenau, we believe we have a responsibility to push harder for our students, and assist them not only in their academic lives, but in their personal lives as well,” said Nancy Krippel, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Brenau University.

Brenau University leverages Helix’s closed-loop technologies which include Helix Retain, our proprietary Retention CRM, to collect enrollment, academic and behavioral data. These insights then inform and automate personalized student engagement plans to enrollment and success coaches to better understand students’ situations and goals, as well as inform and automate personalized engagement plans.

Brenau’s projected five percent lift in retention is a testament to their commitment to student success. For one student, in particular, our data + coaching model made all the difference. Brenau’s graduating class of 2016 included Turrah Benton, a post-traditional online learner who earned her Ed.S. Turrah is a full-time fourth grade teacher and mother of three who relied on her enrollment and success coaches to mentor and motivate her throughout her studies.

“My coaches at Brenau kept me going,” said Benton. “When life got overwhelming and I wanted to stop, my coaches pushed me through it, even if it meant talking on the phone for more than an hour. They truly motivated me to believe in myself. I could not have done it without them. I tell other students who are juggling a career, family, school and all of life’s curveballs to set up a strong support system that is going to build them up. Having that network of support made all the difference for me.”

With graduation rates at stake, our team is taking a stand and transforming the way institutions approach student retention. Data-driven interventions, like those occurring at Brenau University, are keeping Turrah and other post-traditional learners like her moving toward graduation.

Sarah Horn

As the VP of Retention at Helix Education, Sarah brings unique insight into student retention from more than a decade of experience in higher education, nearly all in operations. She has designed, scaled and managed a success coaching program for an online Associate's Degree, and has a tremendous amount of experience aligning and implementing relevant, practical retention strategies that drive results. Previously, she worked for Inside Track as Campus Director, implementing large-scale partnership. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Rochester and earned her Master's degree at John F. Kennedy University.