Schools Eye Analytics for Enrollment Planning

Some higher ed administrators are experimenting with new database analytics software to try to predict both how many students will return and how many new students will enroll in the fall.

Customers of SPSS Inc., which makes what it calls "predictive analysis" tools, include the University of Nevada, Reno; Colorado State University-Pueblo; and University of Northern Iowa.

Thulasi Kumar, director of information management and analysis for the Northern Iowa told SPSS the tools help the school manage its costs.

"By more accurately predicting return enrollment of students, we have better control on budgets and expenses," Kumar said. He added that predictive tools gives administrators the chance "to take proactive measures to ensure our students return to campus in the fall."

Bob Valencic, a higher education programs manager at SPSS, said tools identify patterns of data that might point to students who show signs they might not return to school.

"In many cases of attrition, the student has either displayed behaviors or revealed attitudes that have preceded the decision to leave," he said. "By determining predictive patterns underlying these behaviors and attitudes--and using analytics--universities can take immediate action and considerably decrease student attrition."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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