Retention

Driving engagement, delivering better outcomes

For students starting in 2017 we will be offering an on-course support package as opposed to the cash bursaries we have allocated in previous years. Under the new scheme, which we plan to deliver via ‘smart card’, eligible students will receive a ‘cash credit’ which they will be able to spend on items which directly support their learning and achievement. For example, on: books; stationary; specialist equipment; or on other areas which support their employability. We believe this will enable us to enhance our student success and retention rates by targeting support more effectively.
York St John University

Improving retention rates is a common goal of universities and one of the main drivers behind introducing Aspire solutions. Aspire solutions drive student engagement and this in turn leads to better retention. As part of an overall strategy to improve progression rates, universities with Aspire solutions see measurable improvements and sometimes the results are dramatic as when University of East London reduced drop-out rates by 50%.

University of Bolton: Case Study

INTRODUCTION

Bolton University provides a high quality, teaching intensive  learning environment that provides individual and personal support and unique opportunities to develop the skills and interests of each and every one of their students.

The University has been awarded TEF Silver, is ranked 4th in the UK for teaching quality and is the number 1 university in Greater Manchester for student satisfaction.

As part of their support for student study and success, in 2019/20 (following a successful pilot in 2018/19), the University in partnership with JS Group introduced a new award #UniAsItshouldBe for all new full time students in their first year at the University of Bolton who commence an undergraduate/foundation degree from September 2019 onwards.

#UNIASITSHOULDBE

#UniAsItShouldBe provides students with up to £150 to spend on a wide range of learning resources each year of their study.

The £150 is provided as a credit that students can spend online at the scheme online store – www.uniasitshouldbe.co.uk and in the on campus Students' Union shop.

One key feature of the scheme is that to qualify for the funds students need to complete activities to trigger payments with an emphasis on driving greater engagement with the LEAP Online service.

For the 1st year students in 2019/20, the triggers are:

Trigger 1: £50 award = completed full enrolment process

Trigger 2: £50 award = completion of the LEAP AHEAD questionnaire
(The LEAP Ahead Questionnaire is a series of questions that help students explore their beliefs about learning, studying and other things that will help the University to recommend LEAP activities and provide the right kind of support from a personal Academic Tutor or LEAP Study Skills Tutors).

Trigger 3: £50 award = completion of 15 LEAP Online Badges

LEAP ONLINE

LEAP Online is the Learning Excellence Achievement Pathway Online Tutorial and LEAP Online supports students with their:

  • Academic development
  • Student engagement
  • Digital literacy
  • Personal development

Using LEAP Online students get access to a wide range of information, advice, videos and activities.  Students get LEAP Online badges by completing assessments.

BETTER OUTCOMES

In its first year of operation, the #UniAsItShouldBe scheme has had a very positive impact on the take-up and usage of LEAP Online.

I feel the students have engaged better this year with LEAP due to the financial initiative

Early Years Lecturer.

Awarding students with the £50 credit has sped up enrolment as students want to collect their UoB card and their UniAsItShouldBe card to get access to the funds.

Programme Leader, School of Health.

Whist the University has been pleased and encouraged by the way the scheme has driven engagement with LEAP Online, the #UniAsItShouldBe scheme has also had a positive response from students:

  • 86% either agreed or strongly agreed that the funds had positively contributed to their additional course costs.
  • Two thirds of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that without the funds they would struggle to buy the necessary course materials and that the funds had helped them to succeed in their studies.
  • 80% would recommend The University of Bolton as a result of the scheme.

The range of support materials is extensive, I was particularly impressed with the #uniasitshouldbe representative with his customer support and attentive service and availability of support via email or within the university.

I love this scheme, it would of been extremely difficult to buy the book materials I needed, had it not been for this. So thank you!

It has made my life better. I love it all the time

Programme Leader, School of Health.

Progression

One of the main objectives of LEAP is to identify and develop the skills students need to progress through their programmes and to ensure that the 1st year students have access to the resources to support their study. By incentivising the greater use of LEAP, it is expected that student retention and progression will improve.

To find out more about Aspire Engage and how it can drive student engagement and support student success and study,
please contact, Matt Fooks at matt.fooks@johnsmith.co.uk