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Fix Your Customer Service to Fix Your School’s Dropout Rate, Educational Policy Institute Study Finds

by Sree Roy | September 6, 2013
Pie chart from “The Cost of College Attrition at Four-Year Colleges & Universities,” published by the Educational Policy Institute

Pie chart from “The Cost of College Attrition at Four-Year Colleges & Universities,” published by the Educational Policy Institute

If your school suffers from a high dropout rate, you may be tempted to blame students’ personal finances as the culprit. But a study from the nonprofit Educational Policy Institute (EPI) finds that finances aren’t usually to blame. The four major reasons for student departure — which together account for 84% of the studied schools’ attrition rates — are:
1. “College doesn’t care”
2. Poor service and treatment
3. Not worth it
4. Schedule (not being able to find courses to fit their needs)

Study author Neal A. Raisman, Ph. D., points out: “These are all issues related to academic customer service (and thus can all be addressed by the institutions to improve retention and revenue). In fact, by addressing these issues successfully they could increase population by as much as 84% of the total number of drops. So, for instance, a school that is losing $1 million a year from attrition could recoup up to $840,000 by attending to the academic customer service issues.”

Raisman adds that your school should only admit pupils who have a realistic chance at success. That may sound like it goes without saying, but if your school has an unsatisfactory dropout rate you may need to reassess your admissions procedures. Even if you get a short-term financial gain from the dropouts’ tuition and kit purchases, you may be hurting your school in the long run as your reputation spreads. “It needs to be assumed that schools accept only those students they believe have a strong likelihood of succeeding in their studies and the culture of the institution,” Raisman says. “To do otherwise would have to advance a cynical supposition that schools accept and enroll students they know may not succeed just for their tuition, fees, and collateral revenue. If this were so, they are doing a poor job of it since so many students leave the schools.” The study shows the loss of revenue from attrition for schools is significant and hurtful to the financial well-being of the school. The financial and personal losses to the students are equally significant.

Read the full study at www.educationalpolicy.org/pdf/1302_PolicyPerspectives.pdf.

This study focused on dropouts at four-year colleges and universities. Do you find that same reasons apply to beauty school dropouts? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

The staff at the Polish Room in Orlando, Fla., keeps backgrounds handy for post-mani photos.

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