Understanding Immediate and Longer-Term Student Needs During COVID

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Case Study

Understanding Immediate and Longer-Term Student Needs During COVID

How EAB’s Navigate helped a small private college support students and redeploy staff during a pandemic


Concordia College is a small private Christian school with 2,010 students, an 80.2% retention rate and a 75% six-year graduation rate.

The Challenge

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Concordia was forced to cease in-person operations. Their emergency response team worried that many students wouldn’t have the necessary resources or support to access their online courses and finish the semester.

The Solution

Concordia College has been part of EAB’s Student Success Collaborative partner for six years, going live with Navigate in 2015. When ceasing in-person operations, Concordia emailed all students a departure form to assess immediate needs and used Navigate to reach unresponsive students.

Quick Facts

Institution: Concordia College

Institution Type: Small private Christian school

Location: Moorhead, the largest city in Northwest Minnesota

Enrollment: Approximately 2,010 students

EAB Partnership: Student Success Collaborative

Impact Highlights:

16% increase in student submission of departure forms

93% faculty response rate to Progress Reports, identifying students struggling in online courses

15 employees in one division redeployed to better meet student needs during the pandemic

Additionally, faculty submitted Navigate Progress Reports to flag students struggling with remote learning. Leveraging the Coordinated Care Network they built with Navigate in the months prior, Concordia redeployed student support staff to quickly act on students’ challenges and concerns.

The Impact

Using Navigate to reach students, Concordia saw a 16% increase in departure form submissions, and 93% of faculty participated in a campaign to identify students struggling in online courses. Additionally, Concordia redeployed more than a dozen staff to follow up on student concerns and better meet time-sensitive student needs.

How EAB’s Navigate Helped Concordia Staff Assess the Needs of All Students as Campus Closes

Immediately following the transition to remote instruction due to COVID-19 in March 2020, Concordia’s emergency response team, comprised of stakeholders from Student Development and Campus Life, emailed all students a departure form to assess their plans and identify students in need of support. In the following weeks, they relied on Navigate to uncover even more students struggling to cope.

Departure Forms

Sent departure forms to all students to determined students’:

  • Housing plans (return to home of origin, remain in dorm, etc.)
  • Financial situation (including ability to travel)
  • Computer and internet access for online learning

Text Message Campaign

Used a Navigate text message campaign to follow up with students who didn’t submit their forms

Progress Reports

Launched Progress Reports in Navigate, allowing faculty to flag struggling students. Faculty submitted alerts based on:

  • Academic participation
  • Academic performance
  • Emotional well-being
  • Financial concerns
  • Technology barriers
  • Doubt about staying at Concordia


Of students completed form after Navigate text campaign


Of faculty submitted Progress Reports


Students flagged by faculty (23% of all students)

Providing Timely Student Support Based on Insights from Navigate

Departure Forms


Navigate Text Messaging


Navigate Progress Reports


A holistic picture of immediate and longer-term student needs

After campus operations pivoted to remote instruction, Concordia’s Student Development and Campus Life division redeployed available staff to act on this time-sensitive information about student needs, ensuring students received quick help.

Various Staff Deliver Timely Support

Phase 0: Prior to the Pandemic

Building a Coordinated Care Network with a phased rollout of Navigate laid the groundwork for Concordia’s quick response to the pandemic

Phase 1: Leading Up To and During Campus Closure

Ensuring all basic student needs are met

Support EffortsStaff Participating
Connected students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to clinicsCareer assistant director
Distributed financial aid for student transportation and basic needsResidence hall directors
Centrally tracked support requests and prepared emails for leadership to send to studentsOrientation assistant director
Provide outreach and programs for 80 international students staying on campusResidence hall directors
Obtained supplies for emergency quarantine of students on campusStudent engagement staff
Purchased gas gift cards to help students travel homeCareer coach

Phase 2: Across the Semester with Virtual Operations

Providing continued care to foster success

Support EffortsStaff Participating
Created a guide on how to access online coursesCareer coach
Troubleshooted student challenges accessing online classesAdministrative assistant
Compiled resources on local food pantries and organized a food driveCampus sustainability coordinator
Connected students with wellbeing resources, such as housing, mental health support, and LGBTQ+ resourcesDirector of student conduct


Emergency aid provided to 313 students for needs identified by departure forms and Navigate


Total staff members redeployed in one 40-person division to meet urgent student needs

"Our work with Navigate across the last year helped us develop a philosophy of how we want to coordinate care for students. When the pandemic hit, staff had already become accustomed to helping support a range of student needs outside their office, which was critical to our success during this incredible time."

Lisa Sethre-Hofstad, VP for Student Development & Campus Life

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