Improve the ability to reduce student dropout rates.
Expanding Enrollment Includes More At-Risk Students
NTU has always had a low drop-out rate, notes Mike Day, the university’s Director of Information Systems. At about 7 percent, Day says, the university dropout rate is “better than sector average.”
But NTU knows better than to assume that its current success will continue – particularly as its student body demographic evolves. NTU’s enrollment is growing. It expects to add around 2,000 students over the next few years.
Equally significant, the percentage of students the university classifies as “widening participation” students will likely rise. Students in this category typically come from lower socioeconomic areas. Often, they represent the first generation in their families to attend university. As a result, these students may lack confidence in their ability to navigate the university system. They may not take advantage of its academic and counseling support systems. “We’ve come to call them ‘doubter students’”, says Day. “When they struggle, they believe it’s their fault, and so they typically don’t ask for help.”
NTU’s challenge was to identify which students were either struggling or – better yet – at risk of encountering academic challenges. If it could identify those students quickly enough, it could intervene by proactively reaching out to them to offer guidance and support.