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Student Persistence

Commencement 2019: A Provost Takes Pride

Are you a fan of Commencement? Does hearing Pomp and Circumstance stir excitement and fond memories? Do you look for the most creative mortarboards with phrases like, “She did it!”, “I persisted!”, “Hi, Mom!” and the like? Do you like hearing the thoughts and advice shared by graduates and keynote speakers? If you're like me and happened to attend our recent Commencement, then you weren't disappointed.

Over 1,300 students walked across the stage during the ceremonies attended by some 7,000+ family members and friends along with our faculty and staff at the Gaylord at National Harbor. We publicly recognized them for obtaining a diploma as well as showing the grit, tenacity, hard work, and dedication to earn that diploma. These graduates represented but a fraction of the nearly 11,000 students who were conferred American Military University or American Public University degrees throughout the year. Some wore brightly colored stoles indicating special designations, such as being a first-generation student, their military service, and academic and student organization honors. In addition to being congratulated by me and our president Dr. Wally Boston, General Alfred M. Gray, Jr., 29th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and President of our Board of Trustees, personally greeted every AMU student wearing their Class-A uniform.

Higher Ed: For Students, the Sum of the Parts May Be Greater than the Whole

It’s common knowledge among those of us researching student retention in online higher education that swirling (attendance by a student at multiple institutions) is much more prevalent with online, than on-ground, programs.  Some of the explanations offered include that it’s easier to switch from one online program to another and there’s less social integration among online students so less social stigma in leaving. Others posit that online students are much more savvy about reviewing courses at multiple institutions to enable them to build a richer collection of courses. Lastly, some note that the more frequent semester starts offered by online institutions makes it more conducive for students switching schools to accommodate their personal and work schedules, and to finish their program sooner. 

There Is Life after College

Jeff Selingo, author of College (Un)bound, recently released his latest book, a primer for parents of college-aged children. He maintains that today’s teenagers and young adults have many challenges ahead of them after college graduation and that it’s appropriate to start thinking about how to manage your career as soon as you finish high school. Selingo notes that the education system is out of sync with the economy and that college is a platform for lifelong learning that we will leave and return to whenever we need further education and training to get ahead in our existing job or to switch careers.

Graduation Gap Wider than Enrollment Gap for the Poor

Susan Dynarski’s June 2 article in The New York Times elicited more than a few tweets. Dr. Dynarski, a professor of education, public policy and economics at the University of Michigan, wrote about a project called the Education Longitudinal Study that began tracking 15,000 high school sophomores in 2002. Last month, the researchers updated their educational attainment data for those sophomores and issued a report.

Guest Post: Personalization and Respect Central to Creating Value for Non-Traditional Students

APUS is dedicated to implementing best practices and programs for our students that support their academic and personal success.  In this guest post, Caroline Simpson, APUS assistant provost of student services, shares her thoughts on personalization of service, transparency of options, and various support practice benefits. 

*Snippet from Evolllution

Non-traditional students expect a level of service from institutions that is, frankly, foreign to many higher education leaders.

A Research Project Often Cited

In many research papers reporting on the persistence of adult students, authors cite a Department of Education Study that reports several risk factors that may influence a non-traditional student’s persistence in college. The study, commissioned by the Department of Education and entitled Profile of Undergraduates in U.S. Postsecondary Institutions: 1992-1993, was authored by Laura Horn and Mark D.

The Summit for Online Leadership and Strategy

Last week, I attended the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) and American Council on Education (ACE) Summit for Online Leadership and Strategy in San Antonio. Less than two years ago, I was asked to serve on the UPCEA Center for Online Leadership and Strategy Advisory Council. Part of the Center’s role was to plan the first summit that took place in San Diego last year.

Exploring Institution-to-Institution Student Swirling Patterns

On October 30, my colleagues Dr. Phil Ice, vice president of research and development, Dr. Melissa Layne, director of research methodology, and I presented a research paper at the Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan Consortium) annual conference in Orlando, FL. The research was conducted utilizing data submitted to the National Student Clearinghouse as well as the outcomes and analysis of the Clearinghouse data as compared to our data.