Thursday, December 17, 2009

Don't Slash - Retain - Free Book to Help You Do This

ENOUGH CUTTING!!!!! Higher ed is not a slasher flick though most decisions that are being made about budgets is just as dumb and predictable as many such movies.

We have a budget issue? Okay. CUT! Not the scene but programs and sections and people that actually help students succeed.

C’mon folks. Calculators actually have an addition sign. Yes. That + things is to add revenue.

“But we have no money to add. Where are we to find money to put into the budget? Woe is me.”

How about trying to actually keep students. Maybe you heard the word retention before. Retention is not just about retaining water but about retaining students. You may remember them. They are the ones you count up as they come in but then really don’t care about enough once tuition comes in the Fall.

“Oh no. That’s not fair. We care about each and every one of our students. They are very important to us. Well, maybe not as important as the football coach, or the basketball coach, mainly the men’s coach, or the trustees, or my own salary and raises…..but still important.

And don’t give me that all you care about is keeping the faculty happy. And that faculty have it easy and are paid too much. Most of our faculty are adjuncts and we really don’t give a rat’s ass about them.

And don’t worry about us overpaying them? Won’t ever happen. After all, they don’t do research, except for finding places they can afford to live in on what we pay them.

And they are dedicated. They are teaching four and five sections mainly ones that are required and full-time faculty won’t teach them. Takes away from their research and we do love research. That’s what we reward after all. Research. And well, adjuncts just teach. Most do it well too. That allows our tenured faculty time to do research which is what they prefer to teaching. So we don't want to put reluctant researchers in classrooms so we use adjuncts who will work at wages less than what they could make at Wal-Mart.

So don’t try to tell me that we don’t care about students."

Okay, so then why do you cut so many sections of courses needed to graduate on time and offer some of them only once a year but never make sure advisers are aware of that fact? And why do you cut services that students need? And cut people to provide services? And cut and cut and cut…..? Haven't you heard that the school can add dollars simply by doing what is necessary to retain more students?


What is it about that idea that some can't just get it?

I mean what is it?

Can someone explain why as a nation we lose almost half of all students who start at a four-year college to attrition? And 70% of all students who start at a community college?

Explain it to me.

Is it fun to see students and families lose their investments in the future?

Is it more fun to cut and hurt than to retain and help?

Is there some perverse glee at losing so many futures and $4-8 Billion a year?

Tell me what it is that we can't get focused on keeping students in college?

Do we believe that having students drop out shows a school is academically rigorous and maintains high standards?

Is it that we base our revenues on Fall entering student numbers so we focus on entering only?

Whatever it is; someone just tell me.

Why can’t higher ed institutions keep more students through graduation; keep more money and better the lives of the students they sold on the school and, YES and keep more money in the budget so schools do not have to cut, cut, cut?

My g-d, with all the cutting and budget bleeding I’d think that colleges and universities are run by surgeons not academics!!!

If a college, university, career college or community college increased its retention it will accrue additional revenue that could oddest most of the budget “losses”. This is an old topic here. And I am amazed at how dumb some smart people can be.

Here it is if each student brings in $10,000 for example. If the school loses ten students it loses $100,000 from attrition. The school has to the recruit new students to fill the empty seats. For ten students, that will cost the school about another $65,000. So the loss in revenue to the school from attrition of ten students is $165,000.

Schools budget to lose students so the $165,000 loss is in the planned losses. If the school retains ten students more than it had in the budget that adds $165,000 to the budget.

Retention has the ability to add dollars to budgets and these dollars can still be added to the coming semester/term.

My publisher, The Administrator’s Bookshelf wants to both help make the point clearer and celebrate the success of one of my books. Customer Service Factors and the Cost of Attrition has sold out of all its hardcopies. There are no more left at this time. So to celebrate the selling out (in a good way this time) The Administrator’s Bookshelf has decided to provide free digital copies of Customer Service Factors and the Cost of Attrition to any reader of the blog, and any colleagues you wish to tell about the offer. Just click here and ask

CSFactors and the Cost of Attrition will also explain the retention to revenue concept more and even provide formulas you can use to see how much percentage increases in retention will add dollars to the budget. I also recommend a copy of another article that will help make anyone understand the value of retention Retain Students: Retain Budgets in University Business magazine.

So get the free book. Read the articles. Pass them all on to others. Put away the budget knives and bring out some academic customer service and keep more students.


AcademicMAPS is the leader in increasing student retention, enrollment and revenue through research training and academic customer service solutions for colleges, universities and career colleges in the US, Canada, and Europe as well as businesses that seek to work with them
We increase your success

Neal is a pleasure to work with – his depth of knowledge and engaging, approachable style creates a strong connection with attendees. He goes beyond the typical, “show up, talk, and leave” experience that some professional speakers use. He “walks the talk” with his passion for customer service. We exchanged multiple emails prior to the event, with his focus being on meeting our needs, understanding our organization and creating a customized presentation. Neal also attended and actively participated in our evening-before team-building event, forging positive relationships with attendees – truly getting to know them. Personable, knowledgeable, down-to-earth and inspiring…. " Jean Wolfe, Training Manager, Davenport University

“We had hoped we’d improve our retention by 3% but with the help of Dr. Raisman, we increased it by 5%.” Rachel Albert, Provost, University of Maine-Farmington

“Neal led a retreat that initiated customer service and retention as a real focus for us and gave us a clear plan. Then he followed up with presentations and workshops that kicked us all into high gear. We recommend with no reservations; just success.” Susan Mesheau, Executive Director U First: Integrated Recruitment & Retention University of New Brunswick, CA

“Thank you so much for the wonderful workshop at Lincoln Technical Institute. It served to re-center ideas in a great way. I perceived it to be a morale booster, breath of fresh air, and a burst of passion.”
Shelly S, Faculty Member, Lincoln Technical Institute


Anonymous said...

The answer is, I suspect, something that was told to you a long time ago: many--if not most--students in college don't belong in college.

Neal Raisman - NRaisman & Associates said...

I believe you may have missed my message here. It is not about whether or not students belong in a school which I will argue vehemently they do if you accept them. The issue has to do with the short-sighted and archaic slash the budget rather than add through retention thinking of people in higher ed when it comes to budgets and retention. It has naught to do with students and their abilities.

BTW,the students we accept belong in the school that accepted them. If we let them into the school we are saying that we believe they can succeed. Then it becomes our job to do all we can to help them succeed. If we don't, them its yet another case of enrollment ethical deficit syndrome (

And why do we always blame the students? It is also faculty who cannot or do not want to teach. Some teachers simply hoover after all. Even a mathaphobe such as I was able to learn and pass algebra and calc when a good, caring teacher helped me out. It may be that we do not apply enough academic, yes academic customer service to help our students succeed.

I am to saying all students are great. They aren't but it is our job to make them better than when they entered. And good enough to succeed, pass and graduate. As Academic Customer Service Principle says: It is not our job to recruit the best students. It is our job to make the students we recruit their best.

Anonymous said...

"It is not about whether or not students belong in a school which I will argue vehemently they do if you accept them."

"Some teachers simply hoover after all."

"I am to saying all students are great."

"It is our job to make the students we recruit their best."

0_o You were once an academic?! In what field, exactly, did you get your PhD, and how did you manage to finish a dissertation by writing in such a sloppy and incoherent manner?

Neal Raisman - NRaisman & Associates said...

Thank you for picking up on a typo. It is good that we academics can still focus on typos and skip ideas. That is a great example of intellectual hoovering. Most of the sentences you list BTW are just fine. I am proud to say I received a PHD from UMass-Amherst. And you? I conclude with:
In high school, Mrs. Burns, the typing teacher, told me I would not need typing when I signed up for it to be the only man in an entire class of young women. She said I would be an executive or something of the sort with a young woman doing my typing for me. I would be better of with something like philosophy to get into a good college. As a result, I went to Umass-Boston. I never learned to type as such and use a quite fast, yet at times creative, two finger typing method often leading to interesting neologisms (i.e. typos). I am my secretary. And spell check can be as bizarre as my typing. So if you are bothered by typos, tell Mrs. Burns.

Mark said...

Hi Neal,

I enjoy your writings AND comment responses:)

Still refer to your April 2009 retention article when you did work in Ohio.

Since then I have gone from a Buckeye to a Hawkeye and now work in Des Moines. Great service does matter and your insight is of high value to me!

Mark R. Thompson
Director of Admissions
AIB College of Business