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Driving Toward a Degree 2021: Caseload, Coordination, Student Engagement, and Equity

Driving Toward a Degree is a research collaborative for increasing student success across the higher education landscape. Since 2016, data has been collected and analyzed via longitudinal primary research to understand the state of institutional practices and technology adoption that facilitate holistic student support. The goal is to offer insights to help institutions evolve their student supports and improve overall student success, retention, and completion.

This year’s research examines persistent barriers to improving advising in higher education and we are honored to have over 2,800 respondents, representing over 1,300 unique institutions, participating in our survey. Each year, we ask advisors, student support professionals, and administrators about the barriers to improving advising on campus. Where we see cause for concern is that colleges and universities perennially identify the same challenges since 2017.

Across 2021’s four research reports, we address several key issues, including:

  • Caseload and how it impacts whether certain advising practices can be scaled
  • Coordination across student supports as a perennial barrier to more holistic advising and student success
  • Student engagement from an institutional and student perspective, and the ways in which institutions can improve upon services to meet the needs of everchanging student demographics
  • Equity as it related to advising and student supports: the measurement of attitudes and practices related to equity in the advising community. We acknowledge equity in student success and outcomes is characterized and measured by the complex intersection of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, family composition, age, and socioeconomic status, among other demographics.

In our research, we focus on equity along the lines race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

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