13 Aug

Student Services Important to Graduation Rates

At a time when many colleges and universities are looking for ways to cut costs, student services may be hanging in the balance; but a new study suggests that those little “extras” may be more important than one might think.

Important Correlations

report from the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute recently disclosed a correlation between student-based programs and both persistence rates and graduation rates. The report suggests that putting more funding to these services could potentially increase these rates by a significant margin. In fact, the study proposes that putting just $500 more per student toward student services funding could increase graduation rates by nearly a full percentage point!

The study noted an even more significant relationship between the two items at schools that had large numbers of low-income students: below-average test scores and Pell Grant recipients. These colleges, which usually tend to have lower graduation rates and a smaller chance of retaining students after the first year, may need to seriously consider where to make their budget cuts.

A Student “Support System”

Most students–especially first year students–feel at least some degree of fear or anxiety about the college years. Will they be able to keep up with their courses? Take care of their health? Budget their money or juggle schoolwork and a job?

The student services programs, which include health services, registration assistance, student clubs, career services and others, make up an on-campus support system. In previous years, many schools have offered everything from psychological counseling to weekend concerts and out-of-class tutoring, all for free. These services provide opportunities for students to adjust physically, mentally, emotionally, and academically to life on their own.

Without an on-campus support system, many students would flounder. Though friends back home and supportive parents are an important component to a successful college transition for students, they cannot replace the support of an on-campus community, or professional assistance with deciphering the ins-and-outs of college life, both in and out of the classroom.

Finding the Support System

Some of you are preparing for the college search with your child, while others are gearing up to send your student off to college for the first time (or like me, sending your child off as a continuing student)–either way, your student needs to be aware of his or her college’s support system.

Students who have already chosen a college can usually contact a resident advisor or their housing office to get information about health service offerings, on-campus clubs and activities, tutoring availability, academic counseling, career counseling and other programs that will help him or her meet people and get acclimated to the college lifestyle.

For students who are still searching for the right match, be sure to carefully consider the array of student programs each potential college offers–and don’t be afraid to ask whether or not these programs will continue to be offered in future years.

All the best,
Deborah Fox

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2 Responses to “Student Services Important to Graduation Rates”

  1. 1
    Pay for College Blog - Tips on reducing the cost of college Says:

    […] no secret that private colleges are feeling the pinch this year, and with financial aid and student services serving as important recruitment and retaining tools for their attendees (and a source of income), many schools are having to make tough […]

  2. 2
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » Private Colleges Make Big Cuts in Unexpected Places Says:

    […] Student Services Important to Graduation Rates […]

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