How Schools Are Proactively Helping Students Graduate With Minimal Debt

As of February 4th, 2019, the total U.S. student loan debt is up to $1.56 trillion. That’s trillion. With a T. For reference, the total US consumer debt is just over $4 trillion. That means student loan debt accounts for nearly 40% of all consumer debt in the United States. Credit card debt, meanwhile, comes in second place at $1 trillion, or 25% of all consumer debt. $1.56 trillion versus $1 trillion might not seem like the biggest difference in abstract terms, but 40% versus 25% of consumer debt helps illuminate the real difference.

When it comes to for-profit colleges, 88% of students who graduated had taken out loans to afford their programs. Graduates finished their programs with an average debt of $39,950. These students, just like every other student demographic that takes out loans, fully expect to find employment after graduation so they can repay their debt and work toward financial freedom. In a sense, they are betting on themselves to complete their program on time and land a decent job afterwards.

But, as we know, not all students enrolled in college make it through their program on time. One of the biggest reasons that students fall behind is that they miss too many hours. Requirements set by federal funding regulations and accrediting bodies force programs to monitor and enforce rules around number of absences and percent of hours missed students can have without penalty or failure. Of course, life happens, and sometimes students can’t get to class on time or at all. Part of the issue, however, is that many schools don’t have easy ways for students to know how they’re pacing against required class time.

Because it can take anywhere from days to weeks for registrars to realize a student is at-risk based on attendance and grade patterns, some schools aren’t able to intervene with their students to get them back on track before it’s too late. Considering how much debt students take on in pursuit of their credentials to gain a good job, it’s crazy to think students might not understand how big of a personal investment they’re giving up when they don’t persist.

Schools Take Action

So how can schools help students protect their investments in themselves and increase their chances of graduating on time? Schools across the country are using CourseKey to speed up administrative tasks and increase student engagement in class, granting students more insight into their progression, more resources and timely support, and a way to prove their soft skills to employers.

Real-Time Insights

CourseKey allows students to be more accountable for their advancement through their programs by giving them access to their attendance records and gradebook. By having these records in their pocket, students can check up on the credit they receive every day and take action to make sure they’re staying on track. Because these records are updated in real-time, students will always have the most up-to-date records and don’t have to wait for instructors to upload attendance data or grades to know if they’re falling behind. If students see that for some reason their attendance grade isn’t accurate, they can let the instructor and registrar know right away. Similarly, students can monitor their course grade as they progress through their program with CourseKey’s real-time assessment grading. Whether the student is dealing with in-class exams, or observational assessments at externships, they will receive the results of the evaluation much faster than with traditional pen and paper evaluations. Students receive prompt feedback and can begin to improve on their weaknesses right away, highly increasing their chances of passing the course.

Registrars using CourseKey can also take advantage of real-time insights into student attendance records and can intervene with any students that are trending towards “at-risk” status. By having access to updated records, schools can contact students and alert them of their status before the student has the chance to miss another class.

Working As One

Students can also protect their investments in themselves by building stronger connections with classmates through CourseKey’s communication functions, which help establish a learning community within each cohort. Each student using CourseKey has a direct channel to contacting their instructor, even when they’re outside of the classroom. In addition, students in the same course are all part of a class chat group where students can share information, discuss course material, ask questions, and more. Both of these communication functions combined gives students more resources at their disposal that they can utilize if they’re struggling. No longer will struggling students feel alone and unimportant, because they will always have access to the other people in the course, including the instructor. Students won’t feel alone in their academic journey any longer.

Effective After Graduation

A large amount of students default on their loans after graduation because they aren’t placed in a job that will effectively help them pay back their debt.

A recently graduated candidate for a job must be able to prove to the job provider not only that they have developed the hard skills necessary to excel in the role, but also that they possess soft skills that are imperative for young professionals to be successful. With CourseKey, students can prove to employers that they possess one of the most critical soft skills: punctuality. With access to their attendance records, students can highlight proof of their ability to be in class when expected to be.

Decreasing Student Debt One Cohort At A Time

A majority of the students who attend college take out loans to afford their programs. Their goal is to be placed in a job that will help them pay off their debt and become financially stable moving forward. Students would ideally like to graduate from their programs with as little debt as possible. Even having to retake one or two courses can cost students thousands of additional dollars. In order to graduate with as little debt as possible, students need to complete their programs on time the first time. Schools using CourseKey are helping their students protect their investment in their futures by giving them more insight into their progression, increased timely support, and a way to prove their soft skills to employers.

To find out more about the many ways your institution can take advantage of CourseKey to increase graduation and job placement rates, schedule a demo below.

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