ARLINGTON, VA (May 26, 2015) — Hobsons, the world’s leader in connecting learning to life, today announced that Youngstown State University’s use of the Starfish Enterprise Success Platform has improved course completion rates across key disciplines.

In recognition of its work, YSU was granted a 2014 Starfish 360 Award™ by a panel of independent judges. The Starfish 360 Awards Program is designed to highlight client institutions using technology to help students in innovative and effective ways. YSU will use the award stipend to fund a “Big Fish” program, honoring faculty who use technology to help students succeed.

Youngstown State University is an urban research university serving 12,500 students, more than half of whom identify as first-generation students. Prior to implementing the Starfish platform in 2011, the University had a paper/pencil early warning system to identify concerns, but the time required to generate reports, request faculty responses, and wait for them to be returned to the Center for Student Progress caused the process to be known on campus as a “late warning system.” Only about 2 percent of faculty ever participated. The system also lacked a way to identify a student’s network and share progress concerns with other advisors and staff.

Today, the Starfish platform is a user-friendly hub for connecting all the components and programs that inform the university’s strategic student success initiatives. With enthusiastic and widespread adoption of the Starfish platform by faculty, advisors, peer mentors, and student success personnel, YSU’s course completion rates have been steadily rising from term to term. When the Starfish platform was implemented in 2012, YSU students were completing 81.1 percent of the courses they attempted. By spring 2014, that number had increased to 85.2 percent.

“At YSU, each individual in a student’s network has a part to play in that student’s success. With the Starfish platform, we can take a holistic, coordinated approach to encourage students to stay on track,” says Becky Varian, director of the Center for Student Progress at YSU. “The response from our faculty, staff, and students has been very positive. Most importantly, our approach has resulted in fewer course withdrawals, increased credit hours earned, and increased GPAs — all leading to our goal of improving student progression and graduation rates.”

“YSU has proven the value of the ‘it takes a village’ approach to course completion and student retention,” said David Yaskin, Senior Vice President of Student Success at Hobsons and founder of Starfish Retention Solutions. “When everyone is on the same page, as they are at YSU, it’s much easier make a real impact for individual students. We are proud that YSU considers the Starfish platform to be one of the premier initiatives for improving their student success metrics, and we look forward to our continued partnership.”

About Hobsons

Hobsons is the world’s leader in connecting learning to life. Through our unique advising and admissions products, we help more than 12 million students around the globe identify their strengths, explore careers, create academic plans, and find the right college match. We partner with more than 10,000 schools, colleges, and universities to better prepare students for success. For more information, visit

About the Starfish Enterprise Success Platform

The patented Starfish® Enterprise Success Platform™ by Hobsons helps hundreds of colleges and universities efficiently scale their student success programs so that more students can make informed academic and life choices to achieve their academic and life goals and finish what they start. Hobsons’ Starfish platform supports more than 4.5 million students each term. The Starfish platform identifies at-risk students in real time, pinpoints areas of concern, connects students with valuable services, and helps assess which services and interventions will keep students on track. For more information, visit


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