Forty percent of all U.S. undergraduates fail to earn a diploma, and low-income, minority-, and first-generation college students face a much greater risk of dropping out. The goals of the University Innovation Alliance are not only to test new, data-driven strategies for improving college retention and graduation rates but also to translate successful ideas into model programs that can be readily scaled to help improve the graduation rates of postsecondary institutions nationwide.
USA Funds® is one of the six private organizations that have provided support for UIA initiatives.
In 2014, the Alliance of 11 major public research universities set a public goal to graduate an additional 68,000 students over the next decade. According to an updated forecast, UIA members are now on track to graduate nearly 100,000 additional students during that time. Since its inception, UIA members also have increased the proportion of degrees awarded to low-income students by 3 percentage points, while decreasing the gap in graduation rates between low-income students and their more affluent peers. Six member universities have each increased the number of low-income graduates by more than 19 percent.
- Georgia State University is guiding UIA members on how to employ predictive analytics to identify and advise at-risk students. Successful implementation of this program across all 11 UIA schools could prevent an estimated 19,000 students from dropping out, reducing aggregate annual tuition costs by $200 million and saving taxpayers $100 million.
Crushing The Odds: How Georgia State Gets Students To Graduation
- Arizona State University is demonstrating how its eAdvisor program can help undergraduate students identify a college major that can match their interests and abilities – and keep them on track for graduating on time. The program, which covers all undergraduates, has helped reduce the number of freshmen pursing “exploratory” majors by 75 percent to just 8 percent of freshmen. Students not only find majors through the system but also map their course schedules and track progress toward completing their degrees. The four-year graduation rate for the first cohort of students participating in the eAdvisor program is 9 percentage points higher than the rate for students in previous classes. If implemented nationwide, this program could potentially generate more than $1 billion in cost savings.
- The University of Texas at Austin is sharing its predictive modeling and targeted support programs to help students at risk of dropping out. These programs are the brainchild of UT-Austin chemistry professor David Laude, who realized that disadvantaged students are more likely to struggle with their courses than their more-advantaged peers and that personalized attention and support does actually help many at-risk students succeed in school. The predictive model relies on a database that encompasses more than 10 years’ worth of historical data drawn from the college experience of tens of thousands of students.
The ability to measure the performance of these shared initiatives and project outcomes at other schools requires sound data measurement and analysis. In another UIA-sponsored project, Purdue University
is investigating options for building a data analytics framework that will enable consistent data reporting and sharing among the 11 UIA member schools.