To be more specific, Tinto’s Interactionalist Model of Student Persistence encompasses a more in depth look at voluntary student departure attributes: individual characteristics, academic integration, and social integration. He posits that all of these conditions work together to produce student departure outcomes, (Braxton, Hirschy, & McClendon, 2004). Tinto’s widely cited model provides a framework for assessing good practice. Tinto’s theoretical framework has been testing and retested by both scholars and Tinto, as well, in order to address changing circumstances. What Tinto had initially introduced is a foundation for a solution based upon a student’s ability to “fit” within their school. Demographic, financial, and educational needs have changed causing Tinto’s primary foundation to require retention to be looked at through the eyes of today’s student: a non-traditional learner. Issues of financial aid, the commuter student, and a student’s choice to attend a particular college are all new issues needed to be addressed when attempting to stunt student attrition. If there were some simple magic solution that improved student retention, someone would probably have developed it by now. Unfortunately, student retention is affected by a range of interacting variables. Good practice in student retention will involve developing effective interventions in as many of these variables as is feasible.
As the leading group of cosmetology schools in the U.S., with over 100 schools in 22 states and 20,000 students currently enrolled and training annually for professional careers in the beauty industry, Empire Education Group continues to dedicate the company's time and resources to creating opportunities for people to improve their lives.For more than 75 years, Empire has maintained this strong heritage and tradition of training future beauty professionals for rewarding and in-demand careers in the beauty industry. All Empire Education Group schools are also backed by the Regis Corporation, a Fortune 1000 company, and industry partner of Empire Education Group. Empire’s unique Certified Learning in Cosmetology (CLiC) curriculum provides a visually dynamic approach to education, which is also enhanced by digital teaching aids such as White Board and Nextbook technologies.
Boston is the host for much of the mosaic-like diversity seen within the Empire-Boston school. In my experience, the students who attend Empire-Boston ages range from 17-65. They stem from both low-income to high-income households, however, at this particular campus, the “typical” student profile is that of a low-income household who have never attended college and are older in age (average 25 years old i.e.; non-traditional students). Students, parents, and other supportive individuals take comfort and pride in knowing that Empire is an accredited institution- NACCAS (National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences) provides the strict regulations to which Empire must abide by in addition to their own high standards. Each individual Empire campus maintains numerical outcomes which define their accreditation standing. Placement, Completion and Licensure rates all comprise the Total Quality School factor. Higher percentages in each category speaks of the success in career placement rates, student retention rates, and student follow through in credentialing their career choice.
From previous Noel-Levitz surveys conducted at this particular school, the majority of students surveyed stated that they are first-generation college goers and that their parents had completed 4 years of secondary schooling or oftentimes, less. Some students have been discouraged from their dream of working in cosmetology due to the educational delivery being non-traditional; hence the proprietary stigma. However, those non-traditional students who are not deterred are attracted to proprietary schools because of the convenience, cost, and length of their program of choice. This is due largely in part to the non-traditional students’ outside obligations, i.e.; rearing children, working a full-time job, taking care of family members, etc. (Hentschke, Lechuga & Tierney, 2010).
*(Braxton,Hirschy, & McClendon, 2004)
High levels of attrition can have a large, negative impact upon a college’s funding, facilities, planning, and long-term curriculum planning.Learning more about the factors that affect retention and about ways and means of improving retention can help institutions avoid the high costs of high attrition rates.With an increased understanding of why some students persist and others do not, strategies for improving student retention can be devised to enable more students to succeed in reaching their educational goals.Individuals as well as institutions benefit from finding ways to improve student retention.
To start and implement an effective retention plan, it is important to assess the data (results of student satisfaction surveys, etc.) and to understand the people carrying out the plan. Noel-Levitz surveys have been highly effective in providing accurate information in regards to a students feedback. From these surveys we have been able to decipher what we need to provide our students with in order to completely meet their educational needs. Most results for the Boston-Empire school have posited that more involvement by staff and faculty as well as a more inclusive culture is desired. This closely touches upon Tinto’s theory of academic and social integration. Finding the right equilibrium will increase student persistence and reduce student departure. As evidenced by student survey results, I have found that it takes a village to graduate a student. This is why all members of higher education must share the same vision for success. It is important to hire employees who embrace the institution’s vision and values. If current employees are not involved in this campus-wide improvement, they must be looked at as possible reasons for a portion of current student attrition. A loss of an undedicated employee may hurt the institution in the short term, however, long term student retention success will be achieved when implementing new, dedicated employees. Taking heed to ensure all members of the campus community understand that they have a role and responsibility in student retention is vital to achieving the goal of increased student retention. Everyone (faculty, staff and administrators) has a responsibility in improving retention rates; they must work together to promote success.Having current students involved in an “At Risk” committee will help to promote a positive influence which could be infectious to students looking to depart from school. Student seeing other students involved with employees of the school will show a unionized campus, dedicated to the success of its students. It is important to draw upon and elaborate on Tinto’s criteria for effective retention programs; the commitment of the institution to the student and the development of supportive and academic communities.
Unlike traditional students, adult learners usually do not live on campus, many are married with children, and most work full time.Most adult learners have very little social interaction at college; instead, they have social links to organizations outside of the college community.Therefore, it is very important for colleges to integrate adult students into on-campus social activities. A second characteristic of adult learners is that career advancement is usually the primary motivation for attending college.Therefore, having a “career culture” at college may be a key factor in retaining adult students.Usually, career advancement is a more motivating factor for adult students than the need for growth or self-development. Although somewhat dated research, Ashar and Skenes (1993), tested Tinto’s model on adult students.The results showed that fostering social interaction and the social environment needs to take place in the classroom.If social interaction occurs in the class setting, retention will increase. Retention must be re-defined from the traditional definition of program completion when dealing with adult students.Program completion is the goal for some but not all adult students.Adults are generally more concerned with the “hands-on” applicability of a diploma, have a greater sense of responsibility than younger students, and have more varied experiences to draw upon. Adult student persistence is affected by such things as time management, family and work needs, economic barriers, and logistics. Several theorists have developed ideas pertaining to adult student retention.To many adults, academic integration by way of intellectual attainment is more important than receiving good grades. Social inclusion for adults consists of group work and carved out study time. Campus clubs and activities may have the opposite effect on social stimulation as adult learners have very different schedules than traditional, college age students. Retention truly is a result of a combination of circumstances, student characteristics, and the institutional environment.Creating a student-centric mentality of all people within Boston’s Empire would positively effect the student culture, thus creating a supportive environment required by non-traditional learners. This environment is key to successful retention rates. It may seem to be a simple solution to implement but the ingredients to its success are shared values (by student, faculty, and administration), constant communication, and relentless execution.
Proprietary Attrition: A proposal on increasing retention rates within Empire Beauty School in BostonSarah A. Lindstrom
The Issue The issue of student retention has been an ongoing problem in both non-profit and for- profit schools; For-profit schools have recently come under fire for their high rates of student attrition and an even higher student debt ratio; Because of shifting social demographics, the issue of retention has become more complex
What’s Been Done?Vincent Tinto (1993) identifies three major sources of studentdeparture: Academic difficulties; The inability of individuals to resolve their educational and occupational goals; Failure to become or remain incorporated in the intellectual and social life of the institution; Tintos "Model of Institutional Departure" states that, to persist, students need integration into formal (academic performance) and informal (faculty/staff interactions) academic systems and formal (extracurricular activities) and informal (peer-group interactions) social systems (Braxton, Hirschy, & McClendon, 2004)
Beauty SchoolDropoutA closer look at Empire-Boston’s Beauty School
Empire Education Group’s Mission: CORE PURPOSE To create opportunities for people to improve their lives. CORE VALUES Integrity Customer Dedication Co-Worker / Team Focus Continuous Improvement Passionate Commitment STRATEGIC VISION To be the global leader in cosmetology education, focused on the success and satisfaction of students and co-workers throughout their careers.
Profile of Empire-Boston As one of the largest schools in the country, Empire Beauty School in Boston houses over 200 students; Empire-Boston is a fully accredited school which adheres to strict outcome requirements; Students who comprise this population are from various socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds; Many of the students are first-time college students or mid-life career changers
Proprietary Student BodyStruggles Non-traditional students face different challenges than traditional students do; These challenges contribute to their personal, professional and educational success outcomes; Acculturation struggles oftentimes breeds isolation of the students from their peers and educators
Taking RetentionSeriouslyWhy is preventing studentattrition important?
The Departure Puzzle Retention of college students remains one of the key challenges and problems for higher education*; Approximately 50% of students leave higher education institutions*; Proprietary schools have been researched to have higher attrition rates than traditional schools
The Effect of StudentDeparture on Empire-Boston Revenue lost to the receiving institution; Accreditation repercussions due to decreased completion, placement, and licensure rates; Loss of Title IV funding for current and future students; Decrease in student population which must be made up by aggressive enrollment management; The closure of the school
The Effect of StudentDeparture on the EmpireStudent Students saddled with the debt of an unattained outcome (diploma completion); Students may face loan default which will prevent them from returning to this or any other school; Loss of ability to develop and establish human capital; A reduced chance of returning to school which reinforces a lack of accomplishment/achievement;
Operation Saveour Students!A proposal to end studentattrition
Commit & Invest: Who’sAccountable? Targeted Audience Desired Result Members of the An “At Risk” administrative committee who team targets students with low All faculty attendance/grade Students s A Student-Centric Environment
Creating Culture Create an area within the school just for students-provide computers, furniture, and appliances for basic needs; Have academic and financial aid support available for both day and evening students; Be career-oriented by providing the proper support, resources, and access to developing human potential
ReferencesAshar, Hanna and Robert Skenes. “Can Tinto’s Student Departure Model Be Applied toNontraditional Students?” Adult Education Quarterly 43.2 (1993): 90-100.Braxton, J.M., Hirschy, A.S. & McClendon, S.A. (2004). Understanding and reducing collegestudent departure. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report 30 (3). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Engstrom, C. & Tinto, V. (2008). Access without support is not opportunity. Change.Hentschke, G., Lechuga, V., & Tierney, W. (2010). For-profit colleges and universities: Their markets, regulation, performance, and place in higher education . Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing LLC.Kennamer, M.A. & Campbell, J.D. (2011, February). Serving adult and returning students: Onecollege’s experience. Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers. Association for Career &Technical Education. Lorenzo, G. (2011, July 7). www.acteonline.orgKuh, G., Kinzie, J., Schuh, J.H., Whitt, E.J. & Associates (2005). Student success in college: Creatingconditions that matter. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Longwell-Grice, R. & Longwell-Grice. H. (2008). Testing Tinto: How do retention theories work for first-generation, working-class students? Journal of College Student Retention, 9 (4). pp. 407-420). Retrieved from www.hartnell.edu/bsi/Research/Testing%20Tintos%20theory.pdf.Penn. G. (1999). Enrollment Management for the 21st Century: Institutional Goals, Accountability and Fiscal Responsibility. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report Volume26, No. 7. Washington, D.C.: The George Washington University, Graduate School of Education and Human Development.Tinto, V. (2002). Taking student retention seriously: Rethinking the first year of college. A speech presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers, April 15, 2002. Minneapolis, Minnesota.