The state of college student success.
Poor retention and completion rates symptomize the challenges colleges and universities face in their attempts to meet the needs and aspirations of diverse student populations. Early models of student attrition identified numerous student factors and characteristics that increase the likelihood a student will not complete college (i.e., at-risk characteristics). Institutions have used this information to develop programs and implement technology to target these specific factors and to mitigate risks. Despite the benefits these risk-mitigation programs offer students, they have not significantly improved student retention and completion rates. According to Vincent Tinto and Brian Pusser, this failure indicates that we must rethink our focus on student attributes and examine how the whole organization can better engage in promoting student success. This article explores the problems underlying the college student success challenge, limitations of the current approaches, and a digital engagement strategy that institutions can implement to support improvements in student outcomes.