Tyton Partners’ Driving Toward a Degree 2023 Study Reveals a 60% Student Awareness Gap of Support Services in Higher Education

BOSTON, July 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tyton Partners, a leading education advisory firm, in collaboration with Anthology, a leading provider of education solutions that support the entire learner lifecycle, jointly announced the release of the 2023 installment of Driving Toward a Degree. This comprehensive examination of student support services in higher education underscores the critical importance of prioritizing equity and excellence to ensure the provision of high-quality education. By surveying over 2,000 students and 1,700 institutional stakeholders this year, Tyton Partners and Anthology have uncovered key barriers, as well as opportunities, to better support students.

The Driving Toward a Degree series has been monitoring academic advising and student support practices for over six years, focusing on measuring what practices, policies, and technology best support underserved racial/ethnic groups and students with financial needs.

“Our work with partner institutions throughout higher education has highlighted how technology can play a pivotal role ensuring effective practices at scale throughout the student lifecycle,” said Jim Milton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Anthology. “Driving Toward a Degree shines a light on how practices like inclusive and holistic student support services can increase students’ sense of belonging, degree completion, and career outcomes.”

Key findings from the study highlight five primary areas that hinder the effectiveness of student support services:

  1. Low student engagement with support resources emerged as a significant obstacle according to institutional respondents. Surprisingly, over 35% of student survey respondents were unaware of available critical support services, despite institutions confirming their availability. To address this issue, Tyton Partners recommends institutions improve active communication and programming to raise awareness, moving beyond passive methods such as posting on campus websites toward in-class awareness efforts and direct-to-student messaging campaigns.
  2. High caseloads significantly limit awareness of and engagement with academic advising. While 48% of surveyed institutions implement mandatory advising at scale, most only meet with up to 85% of students in their caseloads. Tyton Partners advises institutions to consider caseload management technology as part of their advising strategies, allowing advisors to meet with more of their caseload, and spend more time with them.
  3. Students who are aware of more support services also report higher rates of belonging to their institution. Additionally, students desire interactions with advisors who represent their own lived experiences, highlighting the need for representative diversity in student support providers.
  4. Academic advising, mental health counseling, financial aid services, and career counseling report limited coordination. This lack of systems integration hinders the practice of holistic advising when providers do not have access to the same data. While integration technologies have been adopted to some extent, the study reveals a low Net Promoter Score (-35), indicating the need for improving user experience and return on investment.
  5. Advisors with high (300+) caseloads are less likely to remain in their roles, a top barrier to effective advising identified at 4-year public institutions. Clearly defined career progress involving salary and leadership growth could increase job satisfaction.

To address these challenges, Tyton Partners recommends institutions prioritize student support awareness campaigns, improve caseload management strategies, enhance coordination among student support services, and work to address student support provider job satisfaction. Student support providers are integral to student success: students report that academic advising and financial aid services in particular are top contributors to their retention decisions.

Tyton Partners and Anthology are dedicated to advancing equity and excellence in higher education by partnering with institutions to optimize student support services. By embracing the findings and recommendations of the Driving Toward a Degree study, higher education institutions can empower underserved students to achieve credential completion and career success.

To view the findings and learn more, check out Driving Toward a Degree 2023: Awareness, Belonging, and Coordination.

A special thank you to our research partners, without whose help this data would not have reached your hands: InsideTrack, Lumina Foundation, Stellic, and NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising.

About Tyton Partners

Tyton Partners is designed to be different. As the only advisor dedicated to the rapidly evolving Global Education Sector, we have constructed a team of bankers, principal investors, consultants, operators, and educators to deliver industry-defining insights to power executives’ and investors’ critical decisions. For more information, visit www.tytonpartners.com.

About Anthology

Anthology offers the largest EdTech ecosystem on a global scale for education, supporting more than 150 million users in 80 countries. With a mission to provide dynamic, data-informed experiences to the global education community through Anthology Intelligent Experiences™, we help learners, leaders and educators achieve their goals by offering over 60 SaaS products and services designed to advance learning. Discover more about how we are fulfilling our mission for education, business and government institutions at www.anthology.com.

About InsideTrack

InsideTrack is a mission-driven nonprofit that fuels positive change by empowering and advancing all learners to achieve their educational and career goals through the transformative power of coaching. We help people get the education they need to enhance well-being, create opportunity and secure meaningful employment – ultimately facilitating economic and social mobility. Since 2001, we have served over 3.1 million learners, partnering with more than 350 institutions and organizations to directly improve enrollment, retention, completion, and career advancement – tailoring our coaching outcomes to fit the needs of our partners and the learners they support. Our coaching methodology is evidence-based and research-confirmed, supporting all types of learners at every stage of their journey – especially those who face systemic barriers to postsecondary success. We are a catalyst for transformational impact, ultimately empowering learners and the organizations who serve them. To learn more, visit www.insidetrack.org and follow us on Twitter @InsideTrack and LinkedIn @InsideTrack.

About Lumina Foundation

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. We envision a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Our goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and success in a global economy.

About Stellic

Stellic is a degree management platform empowering students to navigate their academic journey with ease and clarity. Originally built by first-generation students who envisioned a more effective way to plan their graduation path, the platform now serves students, advisors, and leadership across 196 countries. Discover more at www.stellic.com.


NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising (NACADA) is the leading association for the advancement of student success through excellence in academic advising in higher education. NACADA’s inclusive, global mission expands horizons and opportunities by bringing together perspectives from around the world through collaborative content and research. For more information visit https://nacada.ksu.edu/.


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