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News Clips 03/14/2013
Colleges Have Little Data to Track Military Students' Success, Report Says
Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, 03/14/13
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By Libby Sander
Few colleges track statistics that may help them design more-effective services to support military and veteran students, a new study has found.
In a survey of 239 institutions, a majority said they did not collect retention or completion rates. Nearly three-quarters did not do so for active-duty military students, while about two-thirds did not do so for veterans. The research was conducted jointly by Naspa—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and InsideTrack, a company that provides success coaching for students.
The groups' seven-page report on the survey findings, released on Thursday, suggests that without data to guide their efforts, colleges will have a hard time designing policies and support services to help troops and veterans complete college. Tracking such students separately would give colleges a more-accurate sense of how many temporarily drop out, leave altogether, or graduate.
Many institutions, the report notes, have created policies and programs to support active-duty and veteran students. But a dearth of data has hampered any sense of whether such efforts are effective: Only 5 percent of respondents to the survey said their programs were working and they had the data to prove it. About a third said their efforts appeared to be succeeding but they lacked hard evidence.
The report also notes that while nearly three-quarters of responding colleges have staff members and resources dedicated specifically to military and veteran students, a majority lack a clear understanding of why those students drop out.