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Student Retention in College: A Leadership & Administrative Perspective

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Patil Halajian

on 11 April 2015

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Transcript of Student Retention in College: A Leadership & Administrative Perspective

Student Retention in College :

Key Issues
Retention Defined
What is Student Retention?
Do Top Predictors
Change from Year to Year?
Persistence of Students

Our Position
Laura Bulmer, Christine Ovcaric, Bethanie Huen, Denise Devlin-Li, Patil Halajian
A Leadership & Administrative Perspective

Why is this relevant?
For the student:
personal impact (mentally, socially) as this can be seen as loss of life chances
financial implications (students and their families) i.e. OSAP and other loans or loss of income

For the college:
funding & reputation considerations

For society and the economy:
Through the loss of potential skills and knowledge that will not “graduate”.
Financial impact on the college and surrounding environment (community)
Reputation implications for PSEs

Quality Education
As an educator I am concerned about the quality of graduate we are now supporting. The integrity of programs are at risk as is the reputation of the college as a result of some administrative decisions related to getting higher enrollment numbers and keeping students in the program despite them not meeting course outcomes.

L. Bulmer, RN , BScN, MaEd (c)

Retention Strategies
Sample Retention Strategies....
Retention Strategies...
The Importance of Leadership on Student Retention
One of the most important challenges facing colleges today is helping greater numbers of students successfully complete their postsecondary education.

(Ontariocolleges.org, 2014)
Effects of Low Retention Rates
Why is this relevant to you?
• affects your role as Faculty or Administrator
= job security

• hot topic of discussion and concern for future students
= we must advocate

• has impact on the communities in which colleges are situated
= could be your community
-Traditional/Popular Definition:
"A measure of the rate at which students persist in their educational program at an institution, expressed as a percentage" (IPEDS, n.d.)
- These students are referred to as retained students

- Not so simple...
- Complex relationship between the institution and the student
- Institutional retention vs. program retention vs. course retention

- Often used interchangeably
- Retention
- An institutional measure
- Persistence
- A student measure.
- Student behaviour that leads to graduation.

Student Retention VS. Student Persistence
“The delivery of uniformly high quality post-secondary education with results that Canadian PSE institutions, learners, programs, learning environments, learning outcomes and credentials compete with the best in the world.” (Canadian Council on Learning, p55)

• expenditures on institutions per student

• ratio of students to instructors

• age profile of university educators

• non-completion of post-secondary education

• student satisfaction surveys

(Canadian Council on Learning, p53)

An ongoing challenge as our PSE students, faculty and institutions are evolving.

Ultimately the need for quality graduates is greater than ever to ensure Canada is competitive when it comes to economic and social progress.

(Canadian Council on Learning, 2007)

Striving for Quality

We acknowledge that college administration is faced with a challenge in keeping students enrolled and graduating. We do however think the approach should be one where the college “team” looks at programs on an individual basis to research what the foundational issues are.

• Difference between retention and graduation rates

• Importance of College graduates to the Province of Ontario

• College Accountability to the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities

• Marketing

• Government Funding

• Less cost to retain students

• Student success

• Example: Apprenticeship Perspective on Retention

Reasons why administrators should be concerned about retention and graduation rates:
Difference Between Retention & Graduation Rates:
- Student retention vs. graduation rates -- Different but linked

- Both indicators of college performance

- 1967 Colleges founded ~ To meet needs of employers

- Mission of colleges to graduate students

- Poor retention leads to smaller pool of graduates to meet employer needs

Importance of College Graduates to the Province of Ontario

- 1 of 5 KPI's for Ontario Colleges ~ Graduation Rates

- Within an institution ~ graduation rates may be used to determine program effectiveness

College Accountability to the Ministry of Training
Colleges and Universities

- Colleges often use KPIs in their marketing strategies

- Example from Humber College's Website
Government Funding

- Must understand and appreciate the history and present day reality of how Ontario Colleges are funded
- Government funding as a % of operating revenues
- was once 75%, now approximately 50%
- OPSEU: Overall government funding of colleges is below sustainable levels
- Funding is based on enrolment

# students X # weeks in a semester
FU =

# weeks in the program

- Enrolment numbers audited by government each semester

- Simplified explanation:

# students X # weeks in a semester
FU = ____________________
# weeks in the program

WFU = FU X program weight X FU program value

Government Funding - How Does It Work?
- In 1998 the government introduced KPIs

- In 2000, KPI results begin to be tied with college funding
- Graduation employment rate, graduate employment rate and degree completion rate.

- Winners and losers

Government Funding- Performance Based Funding
- Fall 2015 ~ Decrease in applications across the college system in ON.

- Decrease in amount of students graduating Canadian High Schools fierce competition amongst Colleges and Universities

Less Cost to Retain Students...
- Easier to retain than recruit
- Colleges spend far more recruiting students
- Costs derived when students fail to graduate
- Substantial resources spent on recruitment.
-On average per local student $461
- International Student: $6000-$7000 per student. If student stays for two years the institution receives about $28,000 ($14000 per year)

- College investment in financial aid: Could have gone to students who persisted.
- Lost tuition income
- Other (ancillary) lost income: Residences, dining services, bookstore, tutoring services.

Less Cost To Retain Students -
Recruitment Vs. Retainment
- 80% college applicants state career preparation as most important reason for choosing college program

- Initial Intention ~ Graduation and start a job

- Significant resources dedicated to student retention

Student Success
- Retention in apprenticeship important issue

- Construction trades program completion rate ~ 50%

Some college programs have graduates who must still write licensing exams after receiving their diploma.

Examples include dental and nursing.

Faculty who teach are hired because they are licensed, self-regulated professionals- we are obligated to keep our license and are faced with the unique situation as being accountable to the college that regulates us (CN0) and the college that employees us.
Educator Perspective... Unique Considerations
• The timing of applications

• Travel time to get to college

• Different expectations of college

• Preparation

• Life Situation of Students

What Affects Retention Rates?
• Curriculum

• Student Support

• Management

• Quality of Education
What Can Improve Retention Rates?
• Rely on proven research.

• Suit the particular needs of the campus.

• Institutionalize and become a regular part of campus service.

• Involve all campus departments and all campus personnel.

• Take into consideration the dynamics of the change process and provide extensive and appropriate retraining of staff.

• Focus on students.

• Ensure that the program is fiscally responsible.

• Support institutional research in the monitoring of programs and students.

• Be patient.

• Be sensitive to students’ needs and target the most needy student populations.

Recommendations for Establishing Campus-Wide Retention Programs:
Encourage Faculty Involvement!

- Thinking out of the box ~ innovative strategies
Example: Coastal Carolina University
- Profit-sharing plan
- Rewards staff and faculty when student retention numbers improve
- Target set per year with a lump sum set aside
- In two years, the university has paid out $2.5 million
- Providing thanks for making institution successful ~ encouraging the heart

- Controversial?????

Senior leadership on campus is often the key ingredient needed to implement these programs.

On successful campus efforts, senior leadership plays two important roles:

regularly monitor their institution’s progress toward clearly stated campus retention goals

bring all the interested parties—students, parents, other campus administrators, faculty, and staff—together toward the goals of retention.

Chief administrators’ attitudes about retention can also influence its importance on campus (Diversity and Multi-cultural Initiatives Committee, 2001).

For example, one institution reported that its senior administrators use retention goals as part of the staff evaluation system. All faculty and other staff are evaluated on what efforts they have made to improve the recruitment and retention of minority students (Diversity and Multi-cultural Initiatives Committee, 2001).

Also, senior administrators are best able to use their influence on campus to deal with (nontraditional) retention issues effectively.
Q & A Discussion
Scenario Activity...
Full transcript