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ERIC Number: ED500455
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 22
Abstractor: ERIC
What Works in Student Retention? All Survey Colleges
Habley, Wesley R.; McClanahan, Randy
ACT, Inc.
This report reflects ACT's commitment to assist colleges and universities to better understand the impact of campus practices on college student retention and degree completion. Survey findings indicate that: (1) Only 51.7% of campuses have identified an individual responsible for coordinating retention strategies; (2) Only 47.2% of campuses have established an improvement goal for retention of students from the first to second year; (3) Only 33.1% of campuses have established a goal for improved degree completion; (4) Of 24 institutional characteristics contributing to attrition, respondents identified only two factors that made a moderate or higher contribution: amount of student financial aid available and student-institution fit; and (5) Student characteristics cited as having the greatest impact were lack of motivation to succeed, inadequate financial resources, inadequate preparation for college, and poor study skills. Retention practices responsible for the greatest contribution to retention in all survey colleges fall into three main categories: (1) First-year programs; (2) Academic advising; and (3) Learning Support. Recommendations to improve retention include: (1) Designating a visible individual to coordinate a campus-wide planning team; (2) Conducting a systematic analysis of student characteristics; (3) Focusing on the nexus of student characteristics and institutional characteristics; (4) Careful review of the high impact strategies identified in the survey; (5) Strategies that go beyond first-to-second-year retention strategies; (6) Establishing realistic short-term and long-term retention, progression, and completion goals; (7) Orchestrating the change process; and (8) Ongoing measurement. (Contains 11 tables.)
ACT, Inc. 500 ACT Drive, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243-0168. Tel: 319-337-1270; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: ACT, Inc., Iowa City, IA.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A