Kelly Meyerhofer reports:
The University of Wisconsin System recently hired a big-data consulting company to help campuses, other than Madison’s, identify at-risk students and save them from dropping out.
The UW System Board of Regents signed in December a $10.8 million contract with Education Advisory Board, buying themselves five years of access to the company’s predictive analytics software, which spits out a student’s “risk score” based on demographics, test scores and high school transcripts. Faculty members and advisers use the scores to reach out to students before they withdraw from the university.
Officials say the move is a “moral” one aimed at improving student success, though they also acknowledge that salvaging students on the bubble of leaving means more tuition revenue for campuses at a time when the state’s student enrollment is on the decline.
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