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'No Holding Back' Project Using Data to Understand Impact of Administrative Holds on Students

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) has selected 12 postsecondary institutions to participate in a community of practice called "No Holding Back," tasked with examining the effects that administrative holds have on students.

WICHE defines an administrative hold as "a type of restriction imposed on students by their college or university for reasons such as overdue debts or missing library books and may prevent a student from accessing services or transcripts, registering for future classes, or matriculating on time." Research suggests that these holds may disproportionately affect first-generation students, students of color, and students from low-income backgrounds, the organization explained in a news announcement.

Through the 18-month project, participating institutions will learn how to collect, clean, and analyze their data, evaluate their holds policies and ultimately develop a comprehensive report on the findings, a technical handbook and additional resources to help others replicate the work. The project builds on the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers' Re-envisioning Transfer initiative and is funded by grants from the Lumina Foundation and Ascendium Education Group.

Participating institutions include: California State University Fullerton, Central Washington University, Eastern Oregon University, Flathead Valley Community College, Great Basin College, Idaho State University, Laramie County Community College, Portland State University, University of Alaska Southeast, University of Arizona, University of Guam, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

"Carrying out WICHE's mission to serve students in the West starts with understanding their experiences and where there may be roadblocks to their success in higher education," said project lead Sarah Leibrandt, director of academic leadership initiatives at WICHE, in a statement. "The community of practice model will allow teams from these institutions to work within and across institutions to understand the effects of administrative and student success holds and ensure their holds policies are student-centric."

"Idaho State University plans to include students in the project data analysis and learn how student holds have impacted their collegiate journey," commented Staci Phelan, associate vice president for enrollment management at Idaho State University. "Student feedback is key to developing strategies that reduce barriers to college completion."

"The WICHE project on student success hold policies is as beneficial to the institutions as it is relatable," said Elsa Caguin Flores, associate comptroller/bursar at the University of Guam. "Our primary goal is to improve our hold policy processes to be consistent with all departments and to better serve the student population."

For more information, visit the WICHE site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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