Today’s higher-ed environment demands the a number of “must-haves” when it comes to communication, student engagement, and retention

When it comes to student engagement, support, and success, technology matters


Today’s higher-ed environment demands a number of “must-haves” when it comes to communication, student engagement, and retention

It’s been nearly a year and a half since COVID first discombobulated higher education and put in motion major technology changes relatively overnight. One could argue such changes were record-breaking in an industry that prefers to move much slower by nature.

While the changes were reactive due to COVID, there is a big opportunity for higher ed to proactively implement enabling technology solutions with the help of the $40 billion American Rescue Plan (ARP) – which included the Higher Education Emergency Fund III (HEERF III), one of the largest single investments ever made in higher ed.

HEERF III covers comprehensive student education needs

While a large portion of the investment is focused on directly helping students, the government also recognizes the many challenges students–especially lower income students–face in returning to school to complete their education. Therefore, part of ARP is focused on recovery, students with exceptional need, health services, emergency financial aid, support for staffing, retention, reengagement, prevention and mitigation of COVID, and negative impact on students’ educational progress.

This flexibility in allowable costs is great news for institutions and students; however, implementing processes to address just one of these items is a tall order for any administrator.

Take retention and reengagement, for example. These are complex issues that cannot be addressed and managed through a call campaign and a spreadsheet. Students are multidimensional and their needs and COVID challenges are varied, so the process of identifying students at risk, reaching them, and providing the right level of support at the right time is complex. Institutions need much more than the ability to send an email, generate a report, and keep a spreadsheet.

eSchool Media Contributors