A lack of integration between digital and physical student support services is contributing to students feeling disconnected from their institutions, according to a survey published Wednesday by the higher education consulting firm Tyson Partners.
The 2023 Driving Toward a Degree report also found that many students are unaware of the support services available to them, in part because of poor communication, but also because of poor coordination between services.
Less than two-thirds of the more than 2,000 students surveyed last spring said they were aware of their institutions offering academic advising, career advising and academic registration support, despite almost all institutions offering these services.
“Alarmingly, only about 60% of students know about the full range of mental health, financial aid, and career services offered at their institutions,” the report said, adding that students who are aware of these non-academic support services expressed a “stronger sense of belonging” at their institutions.
To address the awareness gaps surrounding student services, the report recommends that institutions step up their communication efforts, noting that “current practices of posting on campus websites, relaying during new student orientation, and providing course syllabus notes are too passive.”
Importantly for IT staff, the report highlights the need to improve coordination and support better information flows between physical and digital academic advising, mental health counseling, financial aid, and career counseling services, noting poor customer experience and loyalty scores.
“Though the use of advising technology such as digital portals is widespread and
generally believed to improve equitable access, our research suggests that coordination is
difficult to achieve: a lack of solution integration and too many disparate solutions are the
top two barriers to effectively using advising technologies,” the report said.