Demonstrated by efforts like the Excellence in Academic Advising program or the Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (IPAAS) initiative, the question of how to improve advising to ensure student success is gaining traction at colleges and universities.
A key question these efforts must answer is how best to offer advising throughout the twists and turns of the student journey. Students must navigate course registration and choice, course prerequisites, and degree requirements, all while trying to balance career needs, tuition costs, personal commitments, and the pressure to complete their degrees with minimal wasted time.
This area of advising—degree planning and auditing—is not only crucial for the student journey, it is critical for both institutions and taxpayers. An effective degree planning and auditing approach allows institutions to design their programs and allocate their courses in ways that maximize the availability of space and faculty. Likewise, as a recent report by Complete College America shows, taxpayers who subsidize higher education waste more than $11 billion on unnecessary courses—mainly due to course selection that does not count toward majors, the lack of availability of required courses, and class withdrawals or repeats.
As a result, many institutions have turned to degree planning and auditing solutions for help. The marketplace for such solutions, however, is messy. To start, there is a wide range of demands for these solutions, such as registering for courses, planning for a degree, checking degree progress, managing the allocation of instructor and seats, and meeting the scale of student and institutional use. Notably, vendors have not focused their solutions on addressing the full range of demands but have instead limited their capabilities to satisfy a subset.
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The Journey of Degree Planning: 5 EdTech Vendors to Watch, by James Wiley, Eduventures Principal Analyst at ACT