It is again that time of year when many new undergraduate students will be commencing their higher education journey. However, within this time it has become increasingly important for universities to lower student attrition rates. Not only is attrition a financial burden on higher education institutions, but it is disadvantageous for students who are looking to improve their socio-economic position through attaining a tertiary qualification. This article will look into a few of the worldwide trends in improving university culture to help with student retention.
Griffith University has provided a great report on how they improved their student retention from coming in second last in student retention rankings in 2005, to improving it by 80% in 2010. The full report can be found here, and it outlines a few of the programs Griffith University implemented in order to improve their student retention so significantly.
Some of the main strategies they implemented included enhancing student’s preparedness to study, creating an effective orientation experience, and by providing a staff-enabling culture, through leadership development, and staff capacity building.
In the US, the UCLA Student Recruitment Centre offers a range of services including Gender & Sexuality Wellness Programs, and Internship Programs to support students. They also implement programs to help students succeed with their studies including a Writing Success Program to help student improve their writing.
The Edith Cowan University had a growing issue of attrition with non-traditional students, and recommended enabling programs to better prepare students for university life. Enabling Retention is a project that was established in order to see which enabling programs have the best impact on attrition.
This project has outlined the ability for students to apply for higher education and ‘give it a go’ when they normally wouldn’t have. You can see a full list of participating programs in this project here.
And lastly, the Sacred Heart University in the US has teamed up with a well-known art gallery in order to enrich student lives and improve student achievement, satisfaction, increased attendance, and retention rates. Sacred Heart has now become a leader in the area of bringing the arts to the lives of students, and it is good to see Australian Arts universities such as COFA implement similar programs to improve retention rates among Indigenous students.
We’d like to know if you think these programs would succeed a) in Australia, and b) in regard to helping student retention. Let us know your thoughts! If you’re interested in topics like this, you can view the agenda for the Student Recruitment and Retention conference that is taking place on the 2-3 of March.