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Informing Institutional Management: institutional strategies and student retention

Authors

  • Elisabeth Hovdhaugen,

  • Nicoline Frølich,

  • Per Olaf Aamodt


Elisabeth Hovdhaugen, NIFU — Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education, Postboks 5183 Majorstuen, N-0302 Oslo, Norway, elisabeth.hovdhaugen@nifu.no

Nicoline Frølich, NIFU — Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education, Postboks 5183 Majorstuen, N-0302 Oslo, Norway, nicoline.frolich@nifu.no

Per Olaf Aamodt, NIFU — Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education, Postboks 5183 Majorstuen, N-0302 Oslo, Norway, per.aamodt@nifu.no, www.nifu.no

Abstract

European universities are facing demands for better student retention, especially in countries where state funding is no longer based on the number of students, but on the number of graduates. An extensive literature on retention focuses on the characteristics of students who leave higher education without a degree. Much less is known about the measures taken by higher education institutions to encourage study progress. This article examines whether retention strategies are incorporated into the institutions’ overall strategies and the policies and activities developed by universities to foster study progress and enhance retention rates. The results suggest that the universities’ overall strategies and retention activities are loosely coupled and that the universities tend to use blanket measures addressing retention, regardless of why students are leaving.

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