NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED536111
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 7
Benchmarking Attrition: What Can We Learn From Other Industries?
Delta Cost Project at American Institutes for Research
This brief summarizes Internet-based research into other industries that may offer useful analogies for thinking about student attrition in higher education, in particular for setting realistic benchmarks for reductions in attrition. Reducing attrition to zero or close to zero is not a realistic possibility in higher education. Students are adults, with complicated lives. They are at least partly responsible for their own success, something the public seems to understand and agree with: In a recent survey, 70 percent of adults said students bore at least some of the blame for low graduation rates (Associated Press/Stanford University, 2010). While more can and should be done to inform the choices they make, and to set expectations for degree attainment rather than attrition, some level of attrition is inevitable. In looking for examples from other human-capital or service industries that might provide some insight into ways to benchmark attrition in higher education, we were particularly interested in those industries where losses from attrition would translate into tangible costs. In these instances, the industries would both have reason to measure the costs of attrition as well as incentives to reduce them. ["Benchmarking Attrition: What Can We Learn From Other Industries?" was commissioned by the Delta Cost Project.]
Delta Cost Project at American Institutes for Research. 1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, DC 20007. Tel: 202-403-5410; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Authoring Institution: American Institutes for Research