HomeResourcesSticking the Landing: Improving Retention and Completion at Walsh University

Sticking the Landing: Improving Retention and Completion at Walsh University

Walsh University: College Student Retention Case Study
Here’s how Walsh University raised its average retention rate over their last 7 cohorts.

Great enrollment planning meets great college student retention and completion planning

Walsh University is a small, private Roman Catholic university in Canton, Ohio, whose mission is to cultivate leadership, character, and a sense of purpose as they invest in their intellect. Nearly all (98 percent) of its 2,600 undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid or tuition guarantee.

Identifying the right students: icon of peopleConverting and keeping the right students

Prior to the formation of RNL’s partnership, Walsh leadership realized their college student retention and completion rates were falling toward the middle ranges for colleges and universities who—like Walsh—attracted students with ACT scores between 20 and 26. It wasn’t enough to attract them; students have to stay and finish.

University leadership wanted to improve the retention rate; moving it closer to the high end of the quartile range—78 percent to 80 percent.

Beginning in 2013, Walsh administrative leaders chose to engage several of RNL’s solutions:

Planning and outreach

With the support of these RNL programs, Walsh also took several important steps:

1. They developed a communication and outreach plan for re-yielding students;
2. They re-formed the Retention and Student Success Leadership Team (RSST) co-chaired by the vice president for enrollment management, associate vice president, and academic dean of academic administration.

The RSST was given the charge to identify and address challenges or issues impeding first-year students’ success through intentional outreach to and support for individual freshman students. Their model consisted of two layers: Retention Case Managers, and Retention Support Advocates.

Graph icon: college student student retention case studyRESULTS: A sustained improved retention rate of 76 percent over the last 7 cohorts

As a result of this partnership, the Walsh University’s retention rate achieved 82.6 percent in 2015 which was—well above their goal—settling at an average of 76.3 percent over the last seven cohorts.

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