Giving Compass' Take:

• Three higher education associations are calling for higher ed institutions to invest in data and analytics that will improve processes and yield positive student outcomes. 

• Using analytics can help identify trends in data that would improve institutional processes that pertain to students, such as advising and recruitment. How can donors help institutions increase capacity for data analysis?

• Learn about why higher ed needs student-level data. 

Three prominent higher education associations serving almost 2,500 institutions have issued a joint statement calling on colleges to commit to using data and analytics "to make better strategic decisions."

The Association for Institutional Research (AIR), Educause and the National Association of College and University Business Officers say data can be used to improve recruitment, student outcomes, institutional efficiency and cost-cutting efforts.

More colleges are using predictive analytics to spot trends in their data in order to improve processes such as recruitment and advising. However, fewer than half of institutions see it as a priority, according to a 2016 report from New America.

That may be changing as more colleges find success with tactics like nudges, or interventions designed to steer students toward decisions without removing their choices. So far, such efforts have shown promise in boosting enrollment, increasing retention and graduating more low-income students.

Jonathan Turk, the associate director for research at the American Council on Education, agrees that data and analytics can have transformative effects.

"While higher education leaders are increasingly using data and analytics to better support student success and increase institutional efficiency, there's still more work to be done," he wrote in an emailed statement to Education Dive. "We encourage (them) to continue to consider how these strategies can ensure student success at their own institutions."

Read the full article about investing in data for higher education by Natalie Schwartz at Education Dive.