AI Events & Webinars Higher Education Insights Student Retention Students at Risk

Practical Insights from an AI/ML Student Retention Pilot


Join us to explore how Cowley College, in partnership with Datatelligent is integrating machine learning into their established Student-at-Risk/Student Retention solutions.  This session will deliver actionable insights on enhancing student retention strategies through AI.

Attendees will learn:

  • Understand how Datatelligent incorporated machine learning into the existing Student-at-Risk solution, focusing on identifying the key features driving student re-enrollment.
  • How Cowley’s staff and advisors are using ML outputs to prioritize support for students most at risk.
  • Key takeaways and initial lessons from the joint pilot, highlighting both successes and areas for improvement.

Event Details

Event Title: Practical Insights from an ML/AI Student Retention Pilot

Date / Time: May 8, 2024, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm CT

Location: Zoom meeting

Blog Higher Education Industry Student Retention

Understanding Trends in Undergraduate Degree Attainment



The pursuit of higher education is a critical milestone for countless individuals around the world. Whether it’s an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a specialized certificate, earning an undergraduate credential opens doors to career opportunities, personal growth, and societal impact. In this blog post, we delve into the latest findings from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s report on undergraduate degree earners for the academic year 2022-23.


The report reveals a concerning trend: the number of undergraduate degree earners has declined for the second consecutive year. In the 2022-23 academic year, there was a 2.8% decrease, resulting in 99,200 fewer graduates compared to the previous year. This decline raises questions about the factors contributing to this downturn.

First-time completers, who represent 73.3% of all graduates, experienced a decline of 73,600 individuals. These are students who successfully complete their degree requirements for the first time. The 2.8% decrease in this group reflects broader challenges in higher education. As institutions adapt to changing demographics, economic shifts, and technological advancements, understanding the needs of first-time completers becomes crucial.

While overall degree attainment declined, there’s a silver lining: the number of students earning certificates reached a ten-year high. Certificates, often shorter and more focused than traditional degrees, provide specialized skills and knowledge. The report attributes this increase to a 6.2% rise in first-time award earners. Whether in fields like healthcare, information technology, or skilled trades, certificates offer a pathway to employment and career advancement.

Despite the surge in certificates, associate and bachelor’s degrees remain foundational. These degrees continue to be valued by employers and serve as stepping stones for further education. However, institutions must address challenges such as affordability, access, and student support to reverse the decline in degree earners.

To combat this trend, educational leaders and policymakers can consider the following strategies:

  • Strengthening Student Support and Flexibility:
    • Support systems: Enhance academic advising, tutoring, and mental health services, and establish mentorship programs to support students throughout their educational and career journeys.
    • Flexible learning options: Expand online and hybrid courses, and offer more classes during evenings and weekends to accommodate non-traditional students and those with additional responsibilities.
  • Improving Educational Pathways and College Readiness:
    • Short-term and stackable credentials: Develop certificate programs aligned with industry needs and offer credentials that can be built upon towards a degree.
    • College readiness initiatives: Collaborate with high schools to ensure students are prepared for college and offer bridge programs to ease the transition to higher education.
  • Enhancing Financial Accessibility:
    • Increase scholarship and grant awareness: Promote the availability of scholarships and grants to help reduce financial barriers for prospective students.
  • Adopting Data-Informed Strategies and Promoting Lifelong Learning:
    • Data-driven approaches: Use analytics to identify at-risk students early and tailor programs to meet diverse needs.
    • Lifelong learning culture: Encourage continuous education for adult learners and partner with businesses to support education benefits and career advancement.

The decline in undergraduate degree earners is a multifaceted issue that requires a collaborative and strategic response. By enhancing financial aid, strengthening support systems, and promoting flexible learning options, we can create a more inclusive and supportive educational environment. Additionally, by fostering a culture of lifelong learning and utilizing data-driven approaches, we can ensure that higher education remains relevant and accessible to all. As we work towards these goals, we can reverse the current trend and pave the way for a brighter future in higher education.

  1. National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “Undergraduate Degree Earners Report: Academic Year 2022-23.” April 11, 2024. “,by%2073%2C600%20(%2D2.8%25).
  2. Weissman, Sara. “Degrees Earned Fall Again, Certificates Rise.” Inside Higher Ed, April 11. 2024.
  3. Katharine Meyer “The case for college: Promising solutions to reverse college enrollment declines.” Brookings Institution, June 5, 2023.
Events & Webinars Higher Education Insights Student 360 Student Retention Students at Risk

Demystifying AI in Higher Education

Demystifying AI in Higher Education – 3.26.24 @ 3:00 pm PT

Datatelligent is hosting an in-person learning exchange, Demystifying AI in Higher Education.  Please join us on March 26 from 3-5 pm at the Hampton Inn in Puyallup, WA, for an informative and fun learning exchange focusing on AI in Higher Education.

  • Walk away with practical knowledge and examples of how to get started with AI tools and solutions
  • Learn to utilize the Snowflake Cloud Data Platform for AI/ML, including predictive, generative, and large language models (LLM).

In addition to the insightful discussions, there will be ample opportunities for networking and engaging with fellow attendees who share a passion for leveraging Data and AI to revolutionize education.

Please RSVP at your earliest convenience to secure your spot at this exciting event. 

We look forward to welcoming you and exploring the exciting possibilities of AI in Higher Education together!

Event Details

Event Title: Demystifying AI in Higher Education.

Date / Time: March 26, 2024, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm PT

Location: Hampton Inn, Puyallup, WA


  • 2:30 – 3:00 : Arrival
  • 3:00 – 3:30 : Introductions
  • 3:30 – 4:30 : Demystify AI
    • Trends / Definitions / Fundamentals / Tools / Limitations
    • Practical Examples of AI Solutions
  • 4:30 – 5:00 : Roundtable discussion on AI in Higher Education
  • 5:00 – 6:00 : Happy Hour and Networking

We look forward to seeing you there!

Events & Webinars Higher Education Insights Student 360 Student Retention Students at Risk

Optimizing the Student Lifecycle: Datatelligent Platform for Higher Education

Optimizing the Student Lifecycle: Datatelligent Platform for Higher Education – 2.14.24 @ 2:00 pm CT

Managing the student lifecycle is a multifaceted endeavor, demanding both time and attention.  From enrollment to retention and eventual success, educational institutions must navigate numerous factors, each critical for student advancement.

Enter the Datatelligent Platform for Higher Education – a comprehensive solution tailored to address the intricacies of student performance, faculty efficiency, and staff effectiveness.

In the upcoming installment of our series, we delve deeper into the challenges confronting higher education institutions today and illuminate strategies to surmount these obstacles effectively.  Discover firsthand how Cowley College successfully tackled enrollment issues, offering invaluable insights and actionable tactics.

Attendees of this webinar will learn about the following:

  1. Current trends for Student Retention and Success
  2. How Cowley College is using data to improve Student Retention
  3. Making data-driven decisions with the Datatelligent Platform for Higher Education

The presenters for the webinar will be:

  • Steve Wightkin – Chief Customer Officer at Datatelligent
  • Stefani Jones – Director of Student Enrollment and Success at Cowley College
You can watch the recording here if you missed the first installment of the series.

Webinar Title: Optimizing the Student Lifecycle: Datatelligent Platform for Higher Education
Date: February 14, 2024
Time: 2:00 pm Central
Location: Online Webinar (Zoom)
We look forward to seeing you there!
Blog Higher Education Student Retention

How a Customer Service Approach Can Drive Student Success

How a Customer Service Approach Can Drive Student Success

I had the opportunity to attend Educause’s 2022 annual conference, which brought together IT leaders, technology professionals, and campus stakeholders in the higher education community. I was overwhelmed with the amount of excitement, ingenuity, and creativity on hand—whether in the breakout sessions, panel discussions, or hallway conversations and meetings, I came out of the conference energized and ready to tackle 2023.

But what has gotten me so excited? It’s the untapped opportunity we have to harness data to improve student retention, academic success, student financial health, student LMS engagement, and learning outcomes.

And there was one statement that kickstarted this train of thought:

During a panel discussion, one of the speakers stated that early in the semester, a large number of their students had not even been to class. Many hadn’t even been to the cafeteria.

What does this say about student success? Or their journey?

It brought me back to some ideas that have been on my mind. We need to start applying the lessons learned in other industries to our work in higher education.

I spent a big part of my career working with financial institutions. The number one topic is always customer retention: understanding a customer’s journey within the financial institution, working to retain them, and knowing the triggers that might cause them to leave.

The way to help hold on to that customer is by making your relationship more sticky, which can be accomplished by:

  • Establishing a solid relationship with that customer and helping with their financial needs
  • Cross-selling to that customer. The more services you provide, the less likely they are to leave.
  • Understanding not only the individual customer but their whole household

When I think about the word retention in higher education, I see parallels from other industries. And I see opportunities to apply those learnings in new and innovative ways using data.

I see retention as the byproduct of student success. If we better support the student’s journey from the point of enrollment, their persistence/retention is far more likely.

Having a data-first approach is essential to making this a reality. Colleges and universities that have built a solid data analytics foundation are able to better understand the student journey by stitching together data from disparate systems. This unification of data helps identify broad macro trends and also addresses student needs at the individual level. They are able to pinpoint early warning signs and begin intervention efforts to address issues before they are catastrophic.

For example, we at Datatelligent have been working with numerous colleges and universities to develop Student Success & Retention Solutions that integrate data from throughout the institution — academics, housing, student financial health, etc. — and help identify at-risk students. The solution’s dashboards are highly visual and easy to use, allowing advisors and other staff members quick and efficient access to information essential to improving student success.

These analytics dashboards empower staff to intervene at the student level and help them identify broader trends or issues. School administration is now armed with the information they need to make data-driven decisions, can spend less time cobbling together reports, and can allocate their time to improving the student experience at their schools.

Learn more about Datatelligent’s Student Success & Retention offerings and see how our clients are using this custom solution to identify and retain at-risk students. 

 Visit for more information on our higher education offerings and learn how our clients are becoming data-driven.

Blog Higher Education Student 360 Student Retention

The Intersection of DEI, Data & Student Enrollment

The Intersection of DEI, Data & Student Enrollment

All data are not created equal. To be actionable, and to have a chance of influencing behavior, information needs to be legible to the intended audience. 

Many higher institutions have all the right diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) data points at their fingertips, but what they lack is the clarity behind what the data means and the decisions they need to make based on the data. Student information sitting passively in a myriad of databases is a far cry from actionable DEI insights.

Equity can’t be explained away by rhetoric—it’s about the numbers. Whether or not you believe equity is framed and defined by ownership or diversity, it is definitely quantifiable. Therefore, it’s essential to present diversity data in an easy-to-understand, customizable scorecard or dashboard that is relevant to its intended users. The data presentation should allow for easy comparisons between units and across time periods.

Enter Datatelligent. We understand that finding and enrolling the right students is more challenging than ever, which makes each stage of the enrollment journey even more critical. 


Datatelligent is participating in several upcoming sessions about the intersection of DEI and data, including:

The sessions will review strategies for evaluating the effectiveness of your DEI data across student recruitment and enrollment initiatives. They will also feature a demo of Datatelligent’s DEI Student Outreach Solution Engine that gives higher education leaders a 360⁰ view of the student data, including:

  • Insights into DEI-related recruitment opportunities for high school students
  • Interactive map of counties highlighted by special population indicators and current college attendees
  • Key demographic data (poverty levels, single female households, disability, unemployment rates, etc.)
  • High schools per county displayed with student body demographic details

In order to advance DEI, you must drive progress through your data. Insight into your student data—from its racial and cultural makeup to geographical recruitment reach—is key to understanding your students’ experiences and the change that needs to happen. 

Contact Datatelligent today to start fully tapping your DEI data.

Blog Higher Education Student 360 Student Retention Students at Risk

Can Community Colleges Survive the Pandemic?

There is no shortage of adjectives to describe 2020 and 2021: catastrophic, heart-wrenching, impossible, irritating, devastating. Whether we are applying it to our own personal experiences or to the broader world around us, no one can dispute that the COVID pandemic has created an environment of change and disruption.

This has been felt profoundly throughout our educational system. Schools have had to reinvent how they operate, and nowhere has this been more disruptive than in the community colleges space. While COVID has created headaches and difficulties throughout the higher education landscape, community colleges have experienced the brunt of the COVID-related fallout.


Colleges and universities had already been experiencing issues related to the cost of higher education and the student loan crisis. Schools have seen costs explode while revenues decline. In addition to the significant investments schools have made to transition to online learning environments — from training, course development, and technology improvements — they have also had to invest in infrastructure improvements to address other COVID-related issues (more space for in-person education, air filtration systems, etc.).

All this is occurring while many current and prospective students are questioning the value of higher education. Many have opted to delay a return to school until after the pandemic. Some question the cost relative to their online learning experiences. Schools have lost additional revenue as many students have not returned to on-campus living, sporting and other events have been canceled, state and federal funding may not be available, and alumni have not contributed as generously as in the past.

This list does not even touch on the additional COVID fallout — anxiety, vaccine availability, variants, etc.

So why has this hit the community college sector harder?

Unlike other economic downturns where community colleges have seen their enrollment numbers climb, the COVID pandemic has produced the opposite result. Community colleges have seen enrollment and retention numbers take a significant hit compared to other higher education institutions, especially for first-year students, where they see a nearly 20% drop.

Students at community colleges have also reported greater barriers to enroll and stay in school:

  • Job uncertainty — Many students rely on income from full- or part-time jobs that either disappeared or were severely hampered during the pandemic.
  • Family demands — This was especially difficult during the stay-at-home order when students found it disruptive to take online classes while also balancing family/childcare responsibilities.
  • Technology hurdles — Many students reported limited or no access to the technology required to complete online learning. Reliable broadband technology, as well as access to a computer or tablet, was a significant barrier to the new normal.
  • Limited emotional connection — Community colleges have historically had a more difficult time creating a sense of camaraderie and engagement compared to other colleges and universities. The transition to online learning has only exacerbated this sense of disconnect.
Will they be able to recover? Yes.

The answer is data. Community colleges are sitting on a patchwork of information that can be harnessed to help them answer key questions and pivot to meet challenges more effectively. Whether it be diving into enrollment metrics to help them improve existing programs or identify new opportunities; working with faculty and students to proactively seek out students that are struggling and develop programs to improve retention; or better forecasting for budget needs, especially when revenue targets and funding sources are shifting — this can all be addressed

by collecting and mining the data within these colleges.

And that is what we at Datatelligent can help with. We have partnered with colleges and universities throughout the country to develop data solutions to help them use their data to navigate these difficult times.

To learn more about our work with community colleges, visit:

by Steve Wightkin, Chief Operating Officer, Datatelligent

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