ACE2018: The Forgotten Students—The Completion Crisis in Higher Education

March 13, 2018

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By Hollie Chessman

There are 31 million Americans with some college and no degree. People leave college for a variety of reasons. What ReUp, a company specializing in helping students complete their degrees, has discovered is that it rarely has to do with academics. It was financial. It was career-related. It might have been health concerns. It could concern family. Perhaps conflicting priorities were a barrier. Rarely is the reason related to academics.

Nitzen Pelman, chief executive officer of ReUp, spoke to a standing-room only crowd about how a data, technology, and human focus helps colleges and universities find their “forgotten students” and reconnects them to completing their degree. In the past 17 months, ReUp has helped 3,500 students reconnect with their degree pathways.

“When students are contacted by our coaches. They ask the coaches three things: How long will it take me? How much will it cost? What is the process?” Pelman explained. “We have mystery shoppers that go through the re-enrollment process with the stopped-out students. We are able to give our institutions very specific feedback about the obstacles these students may encounter.”

The ReUp Intelligence Backbone provides the infrastructure to intentionally guide and connect these former students to completion. Through student data, highly personalized coaching, and sophisticated technology, ReUp is able to determine which stop-out students need a nudge or a phone call to help them in their re-enrollment.

“A robot is not going to make students re-enroll,” Pelman said. “It’s the human interaction that is so important. It gives the students a sense that someone cares about them and their future, because we do.”

Most colleges and universities do not have the time or resources to track down students who have not completed their degrees. ReUp takes a list of non-completers from an institution, tracks them down, and engages them in the process of re-enrollment.

ReUp does this at no charge to the institution. When a student re-enrolls, there is a revenue share with this institution. The end result is a student gets a second chance to complete their degree—which leads to a sense of pride, more earning potential, and as Pelman says, “they stand taller.”

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