Survey links integrated student services to better outcomes

According to a new survey, colleges and universities that have effective collaboration between their academic, student life, financial aid and student career services have better retention and completion rates than peer institutions which do not combine these functions.

The survey was conducted as part of Driving Toward a Degree, a student support initiative involving Tyton Partners, an investment and advisory firm, and the Babson Survey Research Group in conjunction with Achieving the Dream, NACADA: the Global Academy for Academic Advising and NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

The groups sought input from 3,300 administrators and instructors from 1,100 colleges, including provosts, deans, and heads of student affairs, financial aid, and guidance services. Among the discoveries:

  • Academic advisors who describe their colleges and universities as having integrated student supports were almost twice as likely as those at institutions with self-proclaimed “siloed” student services (28% vs. 15%) to report having regular interactions with staff career services.
  • Institutions where officials believe they have a high level of collaboration and communication between different layers of student services are more likely than colleges without such cooperation to have retention rates above 85% and completion rates above 60%.

The survey also provides a portrait of the corporate landscape of student service providers, estimating the market at $560 million, with college councils accounting for $360 million of that total.