Starfish by Hobsons Awarded Two Technology Trailblazer Awards by Complete College America

Starfish Used by More Than 50 Percent of Instructors to Identify At-Risk Students

Ease of Use, Convenient Access Enable Instructors to Efficiently Engage in Student Success Initiatives

Starfish Star LogoArlington, VA – Feb. 8, 2011 — Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of student success systems, announced today that the Starfish® system has been utilized by more than 50 percent of faculty on average at its client institutions within the first few weeks of the spring 2011 academic term to report concerns about a student’s performance.

“At Marshalltown Community College, we are utilizing Starfish to gather instructor feedback about students who are not attending classes in the first few weeks or not meeting academic performance expectations,” said Molly M. Osmun, M.Ed., registrar at Marshalltown Community College, part of Iowa Valley Community College District. “Through Starfish, faculty receive an email reminder and within minutes have completed the process of raising flags on students whom they are concerned about. Once flags are raised, the information is routed automatically to the registrars, financial aid counselors and TRIO coordinators, depending on which campus the student attends. The volume and quality of the data that Starfish helps us generate enable our team to have a real impact on our student success efforts.” Iowa Valley Community College District has a district-wide license of the Starfish solution, funded through a Title III grant for distance education.

Decades of academic research consistently point to the importance of faculty engagement in student success efforts, including providing feedback that enables others on campus to assist students when they encounter challenges. Accessible through a link either in an email or from the institution’s course management system or portal, Starfish has streamlined the feedback process so that instructors can efficiently share their concerns with advisors and retention specialists who are able to reach out and offer help.

“Starfish believes that the real value in student success initiatives takes place between a student and his/her instructor and advisor,” said David Yaskin, CEO and founder of Starfish Retention Solutions. “Quite candidly, the success of most technology systems on campus is dependent on the willingness of instructors to get on board. We are thrilled to know that more than 50 percent of instructors, including many part-time and adjunct instructors, are using Starfish early in the academic term. Our goal is to continuously simplify the process for faculty and others to communicate their concerns about a student’s performance so that students receive the support they need as quickly as possible.”

Accessible with a single login to an institution’s student information system, portal system or course management system (e.g., Blackboard, WebCT, ANGEL, Moodle), Starfish is a collection of two software systems. Starfish EARLY ALERT™ is an early-warning and student-tracking system that makes it possible for instructors, advisors and academic staff to identify at-risk students in real time. Starfish CONNECT™, an education support networking system, helps students access a personalized contact list of instructors, advisors and counselors who are dedicated to helping them succeed. Together, the systems generate valuable performance and resource utilization data for the institution, which helps optimize future service offerings.

About Starfish Retention Solutions

Starfish Retention Solutions is a leading provider of student success systems. The company offers a collection of software solutions that harness the power of the campus community in order to engage, motivate and graduate more students — securing valuable tuition revenue through student retention. Specifically, the solutions help institutions identify at-risk students in real time, based on their daily course work performance and faculty concerns, and then connect them to the resources designed to help (e.g., advising or tutoring), all while assessing which services and interventions are working. For more information, please call 703.260.1186 or visit


John Plunkett
Vice President, Marketing & Operations