Partnership zeroes in on higher-ed data use

Vireo labs partners with Westat to gather critical data for vocational assessment

HED-dataVireo Labs, a Savannah-based startup, is partnering with Maryland-based Westat, which will work to gather critical higher education data that will help power Vireo’s next-generation vocational assessment.

With clients that include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. Department of Education and UNICEF, Maryland-based Westat is one of the foremost social science research and statistical analysis firms in the country.

Founded more than 50 years ago, Westat employees more than 2,000 employees on its 27-acre campus in Rockville, Maryland and thousands more data collectors and other staff across nine regional offices in the U.S. and offices in six additional countries overseas.

With experience across a host of disciplines, Westat is also extremely active in the education space, particularly as it relates to STEM, having undertaken several projects to evaluate and monitor innovative STEM programs that lead to program improvements and outcome assessments.

The team from Westat is working with the Vireo Labs’ product development team to help guide today’s high school students toward the colleges that can best place them in the careers of their dreams.

“College isn’t just about the experience for those four years, it’s about putting yourself in a situation to help you achieve the career and lifestyle you want down the road,” said Ian Leslie, co-founder and chief technology officer of Vireo Labs. “Westat is helping us gain critical information that we’ll pass along to students on which colleges are the best at connecting the dots.”

Vireo Labs pointed to the following trends as drivers for its first product:

  • 80 percent of teens use a mobile device to visit a college website (source: Chegg), but only half of all colleges have a mobile responsive website (source Noel Levitz);
  • 86 percent of mobile usage is app based (source: Flurry Analytics);
  • 18.1 million U.S. students will attend college this year – which is up 38 percent since 2000 (source: National Center for Education Statistics); and
  • 4-year private schools spend a median $2,433 to recruit a single student (source: Noel Levitz)

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione