The Attrition Problem in Colleges and Universities

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INTRODUCTION Intense competition has made student attrition a concern for colleges and universities.
Attrition is costly and generates considerable concerns for educational institutions (Tinto, 1993).
This is especially true for small schools that do not have huge endowments, and must depend upon tuition and fees to support programming. The loss of students has a detrimental impact upon budgeting as the costs involved in recruiting new students is definitely higher than the cost to retain existing students (Braunstein, Lesser, & Pescatrice, 2006). Small colleges and universities are looking for ways to differentiate from the competition by offering creative programs that will meet the needs and wants of students. These schools then
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Further studies suggest that students must take control of the college experience by getting involved in career planning, joining campus organizations, developing internships, and providing service to the community (Letcher & Neves, 2010). The authors go on to suggest that instructors need to help students gain self- confidence as well as providing a valuable educational experience and a solid learning environment.
Giese and Cote (2000) have found that there is no single definition of customer satisfaction, and suggest that satisfaction can be explained best as a response to an evaluation process. The authors further suggest that problems occur when selecting a definition and comparing results when “operationalizing” the definition. Therefore, organizations must use care tailoring the survey specifically to the type of customer satisfaction questions which can be customized for particular needs. Other studies suggest there is a relationship between variables relating to the students goal achievement and social integration into academic life (Wetzel, O’Toole, & Peterson, 1999). Academic and social factors appeared to be the most important reason for persisting to graduation. Wetzel et al., (1999) further found that progress in academic work measured by GPA and hours attempted and earned guided the attrition/retention decision. Colleges and universities should definitely track
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