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How MDM Helps Higher Education Improve Student Success and Retention

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Master Data Management (MDM) can be a game-changer for higher education institutions that need to improve their operational efficiencies to improve the student lifecycle. 

Higher Education Data Challenges

Many higher education institutions are grappling with challenges across the entire student lifecycle. Operating models are under pressure, with the current slide in enrollment being noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as the steepest on record.

These challenges are often compounded by sluggish, legacy systems and overall unreliable data. While a plethora of data is available, many institutions struggle with systematically collecting, managing, and cleansing that data.

Furthermore, these legacy systems often suffer from a lack of integration and data silos that impede the ability of administrators to gain an accurate view of students across the institution. Inflexible systems often mean that the data is inaccessible and key insights are missed. 

On the student end, ineffective data management impacts their overall higher education experience. For example, students may miss opportunities to complete course requirements and graduate more quickly because they don’t have easy access to real-time information on course offerings.

Master Data Management (MDM) offers a solution to ease pain points for both administrators and students. 

The benefits of MDM for higher education institutions

MDM in higher education seeks to improve data quality by creating a single “master” set of identifiers to describe the core entities of an organization or institution in a uniform way. 

When you have disparate, legacy systems, core data may be recorded differently in each one, making it difficult to glean useful insights. Data integration with MDM seeks to cleanse that data to form a uniform, clear picture. 

These benefits can be significant for boosting student success and retention.

Improved data accuracy

MDM brings a single source of accurate data to higher education institutions. This helps to avoid the typical errors and inconsistencies that occur when there are multiple sources of siloed data.

Practically speaking, this enhances the student experience by ensuring they receive accurate information about their grades, course schedules, and other factors that can impact their overall success. A unified approach to data management means that systems for student information, finances, campus activities, academics, and more can be made seamlessly available to the student when needed.

Consider finances as one key example. More students are dropping out of college than ever before, and World Economic Forum reports reveal that costs and finances are common reasons to quit. Twenty-nine percent said they weren’t returning to college due to the rising cost of living, while not being able to afford tuition was another main reason.

MDM can impact student retention and success by consolidating the many financial options that are available to students. A common pain point is that finding the right options for financial aid, grants, or scholarships can be a huge task, with data spread across different systems. MDM could help students obtain personalized help by intelligently pulling financial aid information that is relevant to them.

Enhanced student engagement

According to National Student Clearinghouse Data Center research, student retention marginally increased last year but is far from pre-pandemic levels. For many higher education institutions, declining enrollment and lower retention rates result in a loss of funding. This impacts schools’ abilities to offer certain programs, ultimately costing staff and students.

This puts student engagement in the spotlight as a key factor impacting retention. MDM helps the school know the student very well so that the institution can engage with them meaningfully. Students have various needs, and a “single source of truth” can help to make those needs clear to administrators and ensure that they engage proactively.

MDM helps improve student engagement and retention by allowing administrators to quickly and easily identify students who are at risk of withdrawing. Data analysis can help universities pinpoint common triggers that indicate a student may drop out.

Additionally, MDM can help administrators to track student behaviors and identify common interactions and preferences. This data can be used to better engage with students in their preferred format.

Personalized student support

MDM isn’t just about academics or finances. It can pull data to give a true 360-degree view of each student, providing the opportunity for personalized support. For example, data points might include campus clubs and social activities, family members, connections with alumni, education history, social networks, and other third-party information.

For example, about 4.8 million undergraduate students in the U.S. are parents. These students tend to have extreme demands on their time and additional pressures, such as finding and paying for suitable childcare. The dropout rates of student parents are far higher than their non-parent counterparts.

Additionally, on-campus childcare facilities only meet the needs of 5% of student parents. Other programs can help, but again, it’s a matter of finding those that are suitable for each student.

This is just one example of where MDM can put college administrators on a pathway to more personalized student support. The extensive data they have can help them identify those students who might need extra support, whether they be parents, students with disabilities, students who struggle academically, or a myriad of other personal circumstances. 

Improved reporting and analytics

Higher education MDM is about making data-driven decisions to improve programs and services to enhance student success and retention.

Find out more about MDM for higher education

To learn more about the impact of MDM on improving student success and retention, take a look at these resources:

Are you interested in learning more about the Semarchy solution for Higher Education institutions for master data management, data governance, and data integration? Click here for a custom demo tailored to your business needs, or try our hands-on, self-guided demo here