"Not only are students underprepared for college, colleges are often underprepared to serve the students they admit; there are both at-risk students and at-risk institutions whose policies and practices put students at risk for attrition." - Joe Cuseo
College graduation is becoming a critical, if not the critical criterion of both student and institutional success. The United States has one of the highest college going rates in the world, yet its college completion rates (for both 2-year and 4-year) rank near the bottom half of all industrialized nations. Less than 40% of first-time, full-time students seeking a bachelor's degree, graduate with a bachelor's degree in four years and less than 60% graduate in six years. Students who attend college part-time have an even lower completion rate; less than 25% graduate within eight years. The continuation of this trend would result, for the first time in U.S. history, in the current generation of college-age Americans being less educated than their parents.
In the current unforgiving and highly competitive labor market, college students must complete in order to compete; if they pull out of college without attaining a credential or degree, their prospects for finding gainful employment are seriously jeopardized. Six out of every ten jobs in our current "knowledge-based economy" need to be filled by someone who has completed a postsecondary credential. A generation ago, nearly 75% of Americans could find gainful employment without a postsecondary credential; by 2007, that figure dropped to less than 40% and is expected to drop to 33% by 2018. Moreover, among students who withdraw from college, 3 out of 10 leave with loan debt. Consequently, among students who start but fail to complete college, they pay the double penalty of incurring immediate debt while forfeiting future income (and other benefits) they would have accrued if they had completed a postsecondary credential.
Promoting student retention and degree completion not only benefits students and the nation, but also benefits colleges and universities. The estimated cost of retaining an already enrolled student is 3-5 times higher than recruiting a new student. The revenue from a fractional increase in tuition-paying and fee-generating students may be a significant contribution to an institution's operational budget, especially institutions whose operational budgets rely heavily on tuition, such as private colleges and universities. In the face of declining federal and state funding for higher education, even public postsecondary institutions are becoming increasingly more tuition dependent. Thus, fiscal benefits accruing from even modest gains in student retention at public institutions can generate tuition dollars and enrollment-related revenue that contribute significantly to the institution's fiscal stability.
This session, with Joe Cuseo examines the strategies for increasing student retention and promoting degree completion. Increasing student retention and degree completion does not mean "lowering standards" or "inflating grades." Effective retention is nothing more than a byproduct of effective education; the principles that promote student retention and persistence to degree completion are the very same principles that promote student learning, motivation, and personal development.
Research suggests that student attrition stems from multiple underlying factors, including but not limited to academic-skill preparedness. Contrary to common belief, most students neither simply "flunk out," nor are they "forced out" because of poor grades. Understanding the root causes of student attrition is a precondition or prerequisite for the development of an intentional, well-designed student retention and completion program.
This program will attempt to unearth and understand how these multiple factors affect, both singularly and collectively, student withdrawal. Specific retention strategies will be provided for addressing these sources of attrition in a systematic and systemic manner.
By attending this session, you will be equipped with a common language for understanding student attrition that can be used by all members of the campus community to promote student retention and persistence to graduation.
Participants will also receive detailed supplementary materials that support ideas shared during the program, as well as manuscripts containing additional scholarship and strategies related to the program topic.
Participants in this program will acquire practical retention strategies for addressing each of the following root causes of student attrition:
Who should attend
Ideas presented will be relevant to anyone on campus, who is interested in promoting retention and college completion, including:
Joe Cuseo holds a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology and Assessment from the University of Iowa and is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Marymount College (California)-where for more than 25 years he directed the first-year seminar-a core course required of all new students. He is a 14-time recipient of ... More info