Rethinking Student Retention Measurement Standards

Think about this: Almost half of all students who enroll in higher education have no credential by the end of six-years. What’s more, 31 million students have enrolled in college over the last 20 years and left before completing their degree. Student retention rates are alarming, to say the least.

Now think about this: Students who don’t attend college in subsequent terms and students who transfer to another institution to finish their schooling, aren’t adequately accounted for under traditional student retention measurement standards.

In light of the growing post-traditional (aka non-traditional) student population, student retention measurement standards need to consider the fact that often these students, who represent the vast majority of students today, don’t complete their degrees in conventional ways. They have job and family commitments, which force them to attend school part-time and when it is convenient; they transfer credits to other schools and programs; and they may take a term or more off depending on life’s obligations.

It’s time that the higher education industry factor into retention rates things like the kind of student enrolling in college today, and the kind of learning experiences schools are delivering.

Our Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Cherron Hoppes, is tackling this issue in her newly published white paper, “The New Metrics: Tracking Today’s Post-Traditional Students.” Based on her experience working with both traditional and post-traditional students, she provides context for the consideration of retention and graduation rates as an indicator of institutional effectiveness and student success. The white paper is available for free download from our website.

Kara Snyder

As the Director of Corporate Marketing, Kara brings nearly a decade of education marketing insights and experience to Helix Education. Before joining Helix, she worked in enrollment and affiliate marketing, undergraduate and graduate admissions, and student affairs. Kara earned her bachelor’s degree from Temple University.