Giving Compass' Take:

Philanthropists are helping to increase graduation rates by using data collection systems to identify students at risk of dropping out and create innovative solutions to help them. 

 How has the rise of technology and data-driven philanthropy able to help other industries besides higher education? 

• Brookings also argues that data is needed in order to support education decision-making that will benefit students around the world. 

A data philanthropy project is helping one university identify students at risk of dropping out – and intervene before it’s too late. Some key takeaways:

  • If college students at risk of not completing their degrees can be identified before they drop out, there is potential to set up programs to help them succeed.
  • If students complete their degrees, they have a much better chance of achieving a higher income in their careers and succeeding in a rapidly changing job market.

In today’s economy, earning a college degree is viewed as essential for employability and higher earning potential. According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce “College Haves and Have-Nots” report of 2016, “The economy has added 11.6 million jobs since the [2008] recession bottomed out – 11.5 million, or 99 percent of them, have gone to workers with at least some college education.”

John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York (CUNY), like many other colleges across the U.S., is working to improve its graduation rates. Its four-year graduation rate is 27 percent and its six-year graduation rate is 47.4 percent. So, John Jay turned to data philanthropy to boost the college’s graduation rates.

With the support of the Center for Inclusive Growth and the Robin Hood Foundation, the college commissioned nonprofit DataKind to develop more than 20 machine-learning models using the college’s existing data for students with 90-plus credits, to predict the risk of dropout or delayed graduation. This will enable John Jay to identify students at risk and intervene with advisory services in an effort to increase their chances of graduating.

Read the full article about how data can help increase graduation rates by Sarah Glaswand at MasterCard Center