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Student Success Best Practices Library

Supporting students in today’s changing environment can sometimes feel like an overwhelming challenge for those accountable for student success. To help our members navigate this shifting terrain, we’ve cataloged more than 360 best practices from across our research forums. This library of research continues to influence the development of our technologies and informs how we support both our community college and our four-year members.

We invite you to explore our student success library, which is organized into the eight categories and problem areas partners ask us about most.

Organization and Accountability


While most academic leaders think of advising, academics, or student affairs when thinking about student success, the administrative infrastructure of a campus has an equally key role to play. Read this Roadmap to learn how the right policies, processes, and financial supports form the foundation for a broader student success strategy.

Many individuals and departments are responsible for aspects of student success, but IT leaders have impact across all units because they support the data collection and storage, advanced analyses, and delivery mechanisms that make planning and intervention possible. Learn how IT and campus partners can use data across the student life cycle to guide more efficient and effective student success decisions.

Despite billions of dollars and countless hours spent on pilot programs, tech solutions, and targeted sub-population interventions, the six-year graduation rate at community colleges remains stuck below 30% nationally. This study identifies three critical aspects of faculty engagement to improve the success of community college students.

The adage “it takes a village” is often applied to challenging but worthy missions, and no initiative on your campus is more important than ensuring that students succeed. Read these representative results from EAB members to learn how diverse stakeholders are making an impact.

Onboarding, Engagement, and First-Year Experience


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Despite decades of focus on access to higher education and significant investment in broad student success initiatives, demographic disparities in persistence and completion remain. Learn best practices to solve the persistent problem of demographic disparities by evaluating policies to improve student equity and inclusion.

More community college students are entering with remedial needs, applying for financial aid, and enrolling in college after years out of a formal educational setting. Learn to increase applicant conversion rates by streamlining the enrollment process.

As the number of traditional-aged students continues to decline, community college leaders must focus on enrollment and recruitment strategies in their control. This study provides 14 practices to help community college leaders better engage and recruit students in enrollment's shifting landscape.

Degree Planning and Progress


A growing body of research shows how changes to the classroom experience can measurably improve student learning, retention, graduation rates, and post-graduation outcomes. Large required courses with failure rates as high as 30-60% can create retention and time-to-degree issues for hundreds or even thousands of students at a single institution. Discover how to encourage highly effective, engaging pedagogy and give faculty knowledge of student-centered course redesign.

This study explores strategies for academic leaders to change the campus conversation on teaching and learning, from identifying innovative faculty and reducing the risk of experimentation in the classroom to sustaining those innovations that work.

In this publication, EAB experts share best practices to reduce jargon during onboarding, engage students in financial literacy training, and reimagine the traditional academic calendar to encourage reenrollment—to name just a few.

A growing number of college students arrive on campus with a limited understanding of how to progress efficiently to completion, and schools face a challenge to bridge the gap between Guided Pathways theory and successful implementation. Unlock your institution’s capabilities within the Guided Pathways model and efficiently move toward student success goals.

Next-Generation Advising


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To make advising more proactive and individualized with limited resources, leading institutions in student success have adopted two principles from health care: population health management and coordinated care. Learn how advisors can use these principles to prioritize their time toward students with rising risk instead of only focusing on those with urgent, critical needs.

Have questions about academic and career advising? We compiled this collection of documents, templates, samples and tools from institutions around the country to help leaders improve advising across campus.

Early Intervention


Early-alert programs can prevent students from slipping through the cracks, but these programs are often uncoordinated and inefficient. We uncovered the five building blocks of successful early-alert programs and strategies to bridge the gaps.

At the majority of schools, students receiving help are those self-aware and tenacious enough to ask for it, rather than those who need it most. This study profiles innovators’ efforts to elevate student success initiatives from the current patchwork of support services to an actively managed enterprise process.

Faculty play a critical role in shaping the student experience, but they’re surprisingly absent from student success strategies. Our infographic outlines six ways that academic units and individual faculty members can help students successfully navigate their academic careers.

Career Development


Growing public concern about the return on investment (ROI) associated with higher education has created pressure for both public and private institutions to assume greater responsibility for students’ post-graduation outcomes. Explore our report for 34 best practices to incorporate meaningful career exploration into the academic curriculum.

Today’s universities are under increasing public pressure to provide career preparation and support economic mobility. Learn how to create more opportunities for applied learning and help students translate between an academic transcript and a career-ready resume.

Competition for employment among recent graduates is fiercer than ever and expectations for new hires are high. This study explores opportunities for student affairs departments to help students develop workforce skills outside the classroom.

Colleges and universities face seemingly constant scrutiny from external stakeholders questioning the value of a postsecondary education. Is this criticism warranted? Explore this infographic to learn more about the fate of our students.

Financial Wellness


Administrators across higher education have been calling student success a “top priority” for years, but pressure to improve success is growing. This study documents perspective and best practices on how enrollment managers across public and private institutions are linking financial aid to student success.

What causes some students to fail while others succeed? After hundreds of interviews with college students across the country, EAB researchers found that the balance between different spheres of influence can determine students’ ability to succeed in college.

Special Populations


In an environment of increasing competition for first-time full-time students, institutions are turning to the community college transfer market to diversify undergraduate enrollments and stabilize tuition revenues. This study identifies best practices on how enrollment managers are growing transfer enrollment by eliminating barriers to entry posed by standard outreach and admissions procedures.

Because common student success metrics are lagging indicators of institutional and student performance, academic leaders may not know the root causes of any given demographic disparity in their data. Our infographic outlines 116 leading indicators of demographic disparities in student success metrics like retention, academic performance, graduation, and career outcomes.

Demand for campus mental health services continues to grow with no signs of slowing. Our study outlines how colleges and universities should align resources with students’ varying levels of need and risk pursue strategies that make the most of current campus and community resources.

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"We've really thought about student success from a cross-functional standpoint."

Stacey Bradley , Senior AVP of Student Affairs and Academic Support, University of South Carolina

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