How VCU increased graduation candidates by 19%—in just one year

Virginia Commonwealth University

  • About: Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a public research university in Richmond, Virginia. It enrolls 23,000 undergraduate students and has a 59% 6-year graduation rate. 

  • Challenge: VCU has steadily improved its first-year retention rate, but needed a new way to identify and address the less-obvious needs of at-risk populations, especially those beyond the first year.

  • Solution: In Fall 2014, VCU advisors used SSC predictive analytics to run targeted advising campaigns that proactively intervened with 12 unique student populations. Five persistence-oriented campaigns resulted in the retention of an additional 65 students to the spring semester and $346,000 in spring tuition and fees revenue.

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Enabling Targeted Advising Initiatives Across a Decentralized System

Enabling targeted advising initiatives across a decentralized system

Interventions Impacting Key Micro Metrics on the Path to Persistence Gains

Interventions impacting key micro metrics on the path to persistence gains

Colleges Are Using Big Data to Identify When Students Are Likely to Flame Out

“Although VCU has had success in getting students to return to its Richmond campus for a second year, the university has struggled to get them all the way to graduation. Now the school is turning to big data to help it identify students who are most at risk of falling through the cracks.”—The Washington Post, June 14, 2015

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Strategic interventions generate rapid persistence gains

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