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Student Success

Texas A&M System Using Analytics and Coaching to Help Students Return to School

student meeting with adviser

A new systemwide initiative at Texas A&M University is working to help "stopouts" — students who have left school without completing a degree — return to college. The institution has partnered with ReUp Education, a startup that combines advanced analytics and hands-on coaching to identify, recruit and support reentry for stopout students.

"Providing a pathway to success for students who have stopped out of college is core to our land grant mission to serve the state of Texas," explained Shonda Gibson, associate vice chancellor for the Texas A&M University System, in a statement. "Many of the students who have leave A&M leave because life happened. We're committed to ensuring that students can still unlock the opportunities afforded by a college degree. ReUp is uniquely focused on serving this student population, and is helping us to support these students from re-entry to graduation."

The initiative, which kicked off this summer, aims to support an estimated 13,000 students in good academic standing who have stopped out over the last five years, according to a news announcement. Students who sign back up for classes are assigned a dedicated success coach from ReUp to "foster personal accountability, encouragement and support."

"[My coach] was like a Fairy Godmother, in a sense," said returning student Caityn Smith, who attended Texas A&M University-Texarkana for two years before taking time off to work. "She let me know, 'Hey, I am here for you, whether you have questions about signing up for classes or need to relearn how to do anything or just need someone to talk about the process, I am here for you.' I took some classes and worked for a year and a half as a phlebotomist at a small clinic, and I realized that I really liked helping the psych patients, so I am going to school now to be a research psychologist."

"We get it. Sometimes life just gets in the way," said James Hallmark, vice chancellor for academic affairs for the Texas A&M University System. "But for most students, completing a college education will change the trajectory of their lives. We want to do everything we can at the A&M System to make sure that happens."

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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