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Colleges Take on Health-Related Retention Problems

TCS Education System will be adopting an online student health and wellness program intended to reduce attrition related to health issues.

TCS is a private, not for profit higher education system comprising colleges and graduate schools in Southern California, Chicago, and Washington, DC, encompassing the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, Pacific Oaks College, and the Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law.

The system will adopt Student HealthQuest from EducationDynamics, a company that provides services related to student recruitment and retention. HealthQuest is a Web-based program that educates students about physical and psychological health and wellness to reduce the impact of psychological disorders or physical health complaints. The program also includes a private social network to encourage self help.

"An important piece of this new wellness program is determining what our students are most concerned about and building the HealthQuest Web site to meet their needs rather than just pushing information out at them," said Magdalen Kellogg, vice president of Student Affairs at TCS. "Because our affiliates serve different student populations, having a Web solution that speaks to our very diverse audience, from straight out of college to working adult, will help us serve them in a more personalized way."

Each institution will have a branded version of the application, which sends pertinent information to students via e-mail campaigns on a schedule to match the onset of issues such as test anxiety or winter blues.

"Analysis of our current health and wellness programming points to mental health, relationship issues, and--in adult populations--childrearing, as some of the higher stress points affecting course work and persistence," said John Mathew, president of Enrollment and Retention Services at EducationDynamics. "We know health centers have challenges marketing resources to students, so we found an engaging way to take that responsibility on so counselors can focus on more one-to-one interaction."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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