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Becker College Partners With Starfish Retention Solutions to Improve Student Retention

Enterprise student success and retention platform offers ease of use and seamless system integration, resulting in improved campus communication and faster identification of at-risk students

Arlington, VA – April 25, 2012 — Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise student success systems, announced that Becker College has adopted the Starfish® system to advance the institution’s efforts to improve graduation and persistence rates.

Becker College serves approximately 1,800 students at its campuses in Worcester and Leicester, Mass. As a benefit of its size, the institution prides itself on its ability to provide close personal attention to the individual student. With the assistance of a Title III grant, the institution set out to improve its student retention rate by introducing a more streamlined academic performance early alert process as well as other student support services such as supplemental instruction and additional technology in the classrooms. The grant also makes it possible for Becker to expand the institution’s existing first-year experience (FYE) program.

After reviewing solutions from five companies, the committee of faculty, administrators, and staff selected Starfish. The system was chosen because of its ease of use and its seamless integration with the institution’s existing ANGEL learning management system. “The integration with our ANGEL system makes life so much easier for faculty,” said Betsy Fuller, Ed.D., vice president of academic affairs at Becker College. “They need only one click to get into the Starfish system, and with just a couple of clicks they can report their concern about a student. The system also makes it easy for us to close the loop with faculty members to let them know that the concern has been addressed.”

With the Starfish system in place, three times during the academic term the system automatically generates progress surveys that are sent to faculty members to solicit feedback on student performance. The system has been configured to capture concerns about student behavior, low grades, and absences, among others. In addition, the system enables the creation of “To Do” items or reminders to students to submit their financial aid forms, complete their resume, or attend a career workshop.

So far, the system has been well-received by faculty and students. Since the beginning of the fall 2011 academic term, nearly 80 percent of faculty have used the system, which has significantly raised the level of interaction needed for students’ academic success. In addition, the system has been used to schedule approximately 1,800 advising appointments and another 500 non-advising appointments.

“Our faculty advisors appreciate that their students have the ability right through the Starfish system to schedule time to meet. They also like having everything in one place regarding which students need help, how each student is performing, and what additional campus services are available to help a particular student. Not surprisingly, they also like to use the system to send a ‘kudo’ to a student for a job well done,” said Fuller.

Looking to the future, the institution seeks to expand its Title III goals by incorporating additional student service departments, including financial aid, the registrar, and career services, into the Starfish system so that students have easier access to all the services that are available to help them. “We envision the Starfish system as a ‘one-stop shop’ where students can get the help they need to stay on track,” said Carol Mercier, retention software coordinator at Becker College.

Starfish provides highly integrated software solutions that work across academic and student affairs departments to holistically support the success and retention of students. Specifically, the company offers two software systems that work together to reinforce the efforts of academic advisors as they help students overcome challenges. 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 networking and case-management 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.

“We are excited to see the early statistics on utilization of the Starfish system by faculty advisors and students at Becker College,” said David Yaskin, CEO of Starfish Retention Solutions. “We believe that making it easy for the various constituents on campus to get involved in the student success program is key to ultimately improving student retention. With the support of the Starfish system, the team at Becker is improving campus communication and enhancing its ability to reach out to students when they show signs of trouble.”

About Starfish

Starfish 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 visit www.starfishsolutions.com.

About Becker College

The Princeton Review ranks Becker College as one of the best 377 colleges in the U.S. and Becker’s undergraduate video game design program as one of the top two in Massachusetts. In 2011, Becker was designated by the Patrick-Murray administration as host of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI). Becker serves nearly 1,800 students from across the country and around the world and offers 30 diverse, first-quality degree programs that launch careers, from nursing to veterinary science, and a variety of adult learning options. With campuses in Worcester and Leicester, Mass., Becker College traces its history from the union of two Massachusetts educational institutions—one founded in 1784 and the other in 1887—and has over 22,000 alumni worldwide.