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The problem of poor student retention and how to fix it

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Student retention is one of the biggest problems in higher education. Many universities see hundreds of students leaving their academic careers well before they were due to finish. The stats show that many drop out before they have even reached their sophomore year.

Higher education institutions have spent a lot of time trying to understand why students drop out and figure out solutions to rectify low retention rates.

How to improve student retention

To address the problem of high dropout rates at universities or colleges, higher education institutions must develop innovative and effective strategies to keep students in higher-ed. There are several student retention services that help higher education institutions keep students in school. What these services do is help universities and faculty to re-engage students that have dropped out. These services use data analytics and knowledge of student motivation to help encourage students back into education, and it works!

You can re-engage students that have dropped out of college once by understanding their motivations and why they dropped out in the first place. Similarly, you can encourage them to come back by removing any barriers that might stop them from returning if they so wish to, for example, applying for a second time or having to take exams they have already passed.

Furthermore, you can use marketing strategies to show students that it is worth their while to return to school. Students like to see success stories and like to hear stories similar to their own, so make the most of storytelling techniques and campaigns that appeal to their sensibilities. However, you must follow through on your promises or offers made in any campaign or strategy.

Why are there low retention rates?

Pressures on students are increasing, and so there are many reasons why students leave higher education. For example, one of the primary reasons students leave is that the cost of education has been steadily increasing. This increase in tuition fees means that it can be really difficult for many to stay in school – financial pressure can be a significant burden to bear. Another reason is that a lot of students feel isolated and cut off from their academic support, which can leave them feeling isolated in their studies. Isolation of this kind can cause students to feel the pressure of their work and decide they cannot manage at school. Finally, many students come to university unclear of the expectations set upon them, which means that they fail to obtain the degree they are hoping for.


Improving student retention rates in higher education settings will help you boost your enrollment numbers, which in turn can lead to better services, better qualifications, and better resources. If you and your institution are worried about enrollment numbers, one place to start is increasing retention rates. Dropouts form a large percentage of decreasing enrollment statistics. So, make sure you understand the problem and address it accordingly. Even just a small change in the dropout rate can reap huge benefits.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press