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Data Analytics: A Key to Improving Student Retention and Success in Universities

Universities face an ever-increasing challenge of improving student retention and success, as well as reducing student loan debt. To tackle this challenge, universities can leverage the power of data analytics. By analyzing data related to student behavior, academic performance, and other factors, universities can gain valuable insights into what drives student success and how to support students effectively.

One major benefit of using data analytics in higher education is improved student retention. By analyzing data on student behavior and academic performance, universities can identify students who may be at risk of dropping out and intervene early to provide them with the support they need to persist. For example, Degree Analytics provides a retention analytics tool that uses machine learning to identify at-risk students based on factors such as GPA, course selection, and engagement with campus resources. By addressing these issues early on, universities can improve retention and reduce the number of students who drop out or take longer to graduate.

Another benefit of using data analytics in higher education is improving student success and on-time graduation rates. Universities can use data to understand what factors contribute to student success, such as academic preparation, engagement with campus resources, and personal factors. Based on this information, universities can design and implement programs and initiatives that support student success and improve on-time graduation rates.

Additionally, data analytics can also help universities reduce student loan debt by providing valuable insights into the cost of higher education. By analyzing data on student spending and borrowing patterns, universities can identify areas where they can reduce costs and make higher education more affordable for students. For example, Gartner predicts that by 2023, 40% of higher education institutions will use predictive analytics to optimize student loan and financial aid decisions, resulting in reduced student loan debt.

Data analytics is a powerful tool that can help universities improve student retention, success, and on-time graduation rates, as well as reduce student loan debt. By leveraging the power of data, universities can gain valuable insights into what drives student success and design programs and initiatives that support students effectively. It is essential for universities to embrace data analytics and use it to make data-driven decisions to improve the student experience and outcomes.

John D'Annunzio

SVP Business Development

About Columbia Advisory Group

Columbia Advisory Group (CAG) is a leading Information Technology (IT) consulting firm. CAG’s team has assessed and helped improve the performance of more than 300 technology organizations and IT departments, including many higher education institutions, state agencies, and Fortune 50 customers. Practice specialty areas include Infrastructure, IT Service Management, Cybersecurity, and A/V Services. CAG improves business outcomes with IT insights and expert technical support. Based in Dallas, Texas, CAG works extensively with clients throughout the U.S. Contact us at

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