Campus / News / October 20, 2010

Exit survey aiming at increased retention

A new exit survey of students leaving Knox should help the school better support students.

Knox has a very high retention rate, with 90 percent of students returning after their first year, according to the College Board website.

Emily Anderson, the chair of the Admissions, Retention and Placement Committee said that the retention rate has remained very stable and the committee was not worried. The committee wanted a better sense of why students leave Knox.

Anderson said the survey is “an attempt to systemize our efforts at collecting data” on students’ reasons for leaving.

The survey will be filled out by Associate Dean Lori Haslem for each student who leaves, and she will report to the Admissions, Retention and Placement Committee each term. She said the information gathered in the survey will be “kept very confidential.”

The committee hopes that the survey will allow them to see patterns and understand whether students are leaving for academic, social, financial, medical or other reasons.

Anderson said, “If we understand why they’re leaving we can support students better.”

According to Haslem, loss of students affects the college financially because of lost tuition, but it also “affects everybody’s feeling about the place.” Knox’s high retention rate “helps a sense of community.”

Losing students doesn’t only impact the college but the state. According to a recent article in the Galesburg Register-Mail, governments spent $6.2 billion on the education of students who did not return after their first year.

By allowing Knox to understand why students are leaving, the survey will help stop the school from “losing students who, if we had more support, could graduate and be successful,” Anderson said.

Gretchen Walljasper

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