Firms combine decades of experience in student success with an innovative peer-to-peer engagement platform that reduces summer melt and increases college student retention
February 19, 2019—Ruffalo Noel Levitz (RNL), a pioneer in the realm of college student retention, today announced a partnership with Nearpeer, which offers a pioneering retention solution that improves student success by facilitating peer-to-peer connections. College students are recommended to their peers based on shared interests, activities, classes, hometown, and other key areas.
The partnership brings the strengths of the two firms together to increase student success among today’s college students, particularly traditional-aged students from Generation Z who have grown up in the era of social media. Nearpeer creates those authentic connections by allowing college students to easily find and connect with classmates based on sharing compatible characteristics—fostering peer interaction with other students in their college community.
Nearpeer addresses a major desire among college students to create stronger connections with peers. According to the firm’s research, 82 percent of college students wished that they knew their classmates better, yet only 14 percent said they knew their classmates very well. RNL’s own research among freshmen backs this up, with 71 percent saying they desired to attend an informal gathering to meet new friends as one of their initial campus activities.
“While it may first appear that today’s students are connected, the reality is the opposite. Gen Z is the loneliest generation,” said Dustin Manocha, founder and CEO of Nearpeer. “Peer-to-peer connections are vital to each student’s success, and Gen Z in particular rate peers as their number-one influence. Nearpeer enables colleges to harness the power of peer influence, starting where students are most comfortable: their phones. It helps create social roots, community, and a sense of belonging that increase a student’s desire and likelihood to stay at an institution.” For Gen Z students, 55 percent of whom say they don’t have to see someone to feel connected to them.
It’s not just Generation Z who struggle to form meaningful peer relationships. Nearpeer also serves adult learners, who are increasingly isolated from their peers in online, commuter, and hybrid programs. Such programs expand the reach of education but often have limited in-person interaction and higher attrition rates.
The partnership leverages Nearpeer’s innovative approach to student engagement and influence with RNL’s strategic expertise in student success, from student enrollment marketing and retention planning to assessments and analytics to career services. RNL has provided insights and analytics for college student retention since 1973, helping thousands of institutions increase student persistence and completion.
“Our partnership with Nearpeer helps our campus partners harness the power of peer influence to increase enrollment,” said Todd Abbott, senior vice president at RNL. “Together with RNL’s student assessments, retention analytics, and decades of consulting experience, we’re addressing critical areas across the student journey, starting with reducing ‘summer melt’—students who pay a deposit but do not show up at the start of the term—and then increasing student success once they enroll.”
RNL and Nearpeer will be discussing one of the immediate benefits of the partnership during a webinar on February 28, “Reduce Summer Melt With Gen Z Peer Influence.”
For further information about the RNL Partners program, visit RuffaloNL.com/Partners.
Nearpeer, Inc. serves colleges and universities by strengthening students’ commitment to college, starting with incoming students. Nearpeer achieves higher student enrollment and retention through its innovative peer-to-peer student platform, mobile apps, and machine learning which complement existing programs. Students use Nearpeer to voluntarily find, connect, and engage with each other based on what they have in common: major, shared interests, pathway, life experience, and more. The result is authentic, positive peer influence that increases students’ connection and commitment to their college, resulting in higher enrollment and retention. Learn more at nearpeer.net.
About Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Ruffalo Noel Levitz is the leading provider of higher education enrollment, student success, and fundraising solutions. More than 1,900 colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations rely on RNL for advanced analytics, personalized engagement, and industry-leading insights to achieve their missions. The firm is focused on the entire lifecycle of enrollment and fundraising, assuring students find the right college or university, graduate on time, secure their first job in their chosen field, and give back to support the next generation. Ruffalo Noel Levitz conferences, research reports, papers, and articles help clients stay on top of current trends. Learn more at www.RuffaloNL.com.