Slippery Rock U Applies SAS to Data Management and Reporting

Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania is using the SAS Enterprise Intelligence Suite for Education for data management and reporting to help the university improve recruitment, retention, and graduation rates. Using the application, Slippery Rock tracks and shares information on student performance and quality.

"We believed we were attracting better students, but it was hard to quantify," said Amanda Yale, associate provost for enrollment services. "With SAS, we can show that our average student has a 3.3 GPA this year compared to 2.99 last year, and our percentage of students representing the top 10 percent and top 25 percent of their high school class has increased."

Student information has traditionally been maintained across multiple systems, making the creation of reports, identification of needs, and analysis of trends difficult. The enrollment services staff wanted retention data segmented by department, major, state, county, and high school--updated daily. It wanted to know how many students from which majors were retained and where the greatest attrition was. The staff also wanted to calculate retention or graduation rates of students transferring from community colleges.

"We had data in so many different places it was hard to get. Producing the reports we needed was very labor-intensive," said Yale.

With SAS, the university has automated its enrollment reports. Employees access information from their desktops, viewing real-time data on new enrollment, quality performance measures, graduation rates, retention, registration, orientation participation, and enrollment broken out by gender, race, and region. The retention staff uses the system to intervene at critical times, including when midterm and final grades arrive.

The data generated from the new system allows the university to target its marketing in regions where potential students are more likely to come from. The university is now working with SAS on a project to predict what factors create successful students.

SAS said it has 2,000 college, university, and business-school customers around the world.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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