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Tiffin U Boosts Student Retention with Technology-Driven Outreach

Tiffin University said it has seen positive results in streamlining its student retention information and communication with software from Hobsons Student Retention Solutions. The Tiffin, OH-based school is using the application to help it identify, communicate with and help students stay enrolled. Tiffin has about 2,000 students.

"Our students have many different needs, so we couldn't use a cookie cutter approach to retention," said Cam Cruickshank, Tiffin's VP for enrollment management. "Hobsons has helped us tackle the many issues facing our diverse student body."

Made up almost equally of traditional undergraduate students and adult learners who study online and at regional academic centers, the campus' student diversity creates challenges in addressing retention. With a combination of automated technology and personal interaction, Tiffin's one-year retention rate increased from 51 percent to 63.3 percent in the five years since the school began focusing on retention efforts.

Tiffin's current retention program employs the use of predictive modeling, success coaching and focused communication with at-risk students. The school has a chief retention officer focused on reducing attrition and helping students reach the goal of graduation. The school uses the Hobsons software to streamline communication and collect data that school administrators can use to better identify at-risk students.

"Universities already have a wealth of information available to them to help retention efforts. From official test score reports in the admissions office to dependency status, student loan and scholarship information in financial aid, these details can help predict a student's likelihood of success and provide tools to help them stay in school," said Cruickshank. "The trick is compiling it so it can be used successfully, and that is where Hobsons has really made the difference."

By channeling information from the admissions, financial aid, bursar and registration offices into the retention application, Tiffin is able to identify students who are on the brink of leaving school and send targeted communication to help them overcome their particular roadblocks. For students who need more personal attention, Tiffin assigns a success coach to meet with them one-on-one.

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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