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Insights for a Challenging Economy: Volume 2 – Bulletin #6

Reasons students provide when asked why they discontinued college or university study.

Retention, Graduation Rates Top Issues For College Presidents – By Far!


Key Findings from our Leadership Retention Survey and

Five Ideas for Acting on Them

College and university leaders rate “improving student retention and graduation rates” among the “three most pressing issues” confronting their institutions, according to a Maguire Associates survey of 837 Presidents and senior Enrollment/Admissions, Financial Aid, Academics/Student Life, and Business Office leaders.  Indeed, presidential urgency is reflected in a stunningly higher score for retention (70%) than the second-most “pressing issue” of “meeting enrollment targets” (49%).

Officials from all five groups also believe that their institution is “genuinely committed to increasing persistence.”  These expressions of importance and commitment aside, however, only a minority of respondents (20%-41%, by group) say their institution actually has a comprehensive, written retention plan.  This suggests that while leaders understand the importance of retention and feel that they are committed to improving it, many of their institutions lack systematic, comprehensive approaches to confronting the problem.

Click to read the full article...


Additional Resources

  • Understanding and Tackling Price Sensitivity: On July 22, 2010, Kathleen Dawley, President of Maguire Associates, and Tara Scholder, Senior V.P. for Research Operations, gave a presentation on the importance of price sensitivity and perceptions of value in the college selection process at the ACT Enrollment Planners Conference in Chicago.
  • Five Insights from our College Decision Impact Survey of High School Seniors and Three Ways to Think About Them: Our last issue of Insights for a Challenging Economy took a look at the findings of the 2010 College Decision Impact Survey (CDIS) and the pervasive role of the economy in shaping student application choices. Now more than ever, students and their families will expect institutions to deliver on their promises. Click here to read the full article.

  • For an extensive discussion of retention research, see Is Retention Really a Top Priority at Our Colleges and Universities? Summary of Results from the 2010 Leadership Retention Survey: In July, of 2010, Maguire Associates released the final results of the national survey administered to college and university leaders that examined how institutions are organized to address the challenges of retaining students to graduation.
  • No Laughing Matter: Inside Higher Education published an article on August 4, 2010, titled "No Laughing Matter" which illustrates the communication gap that can exist between institutions and their prospective students regarding website design priorities. Read the full article to gain further insight into the conflict between what students really want to see on an institution's homepage versus what they are actually getting.




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