Students Expect Data to Transform College Experience – Can Colleges Deliver?

Study highlights need for schools to leverage student information to provide enhanced advising, financial aid, and academic services

Published Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - Anaheim, CA [EDUCAUSE]

More than three quarters of college students (77%) believe schools should be using more of their personal information to enhance their college experience – both inside and outside the classroom, according to a new survey by Wakefield Research for Ellucian, the leading global provider for higher education software and services.

From application to graduation, students give colleges an incredible amount of their personal data, and they want schools to use that data to optimize their college career. Almost all respondents (98%) said they want their school to use their personal information to improve academic processes, such as tracking graduation requirements and progress (62%), selecting and registering for courses (59%) and scheduling academic advising sessions (53%).

In addition to academics, students expect the personal data they give their school to improve many other aspects of their college experience, including their student life (95%), obtaining student health care (49%), securing housing (46%) and joining student organizations (44%). Students are also willing to have their data used to obtain offers from local bookstores, retailers and restaurants (42%) and getting tickets to campus events such as sports games and concerts (34%).

“Today’s students are savvy users of technology and comfortable sharing their data, but they expect more from colleges and universities when they do,” said Jeff Ray, president and CEO at Ellucian. “They expect institutions to utilize their data to improve their educational/academic experience just like the apps on their phone.”

To help colleges and universities meet these expectations, Ellucian is announcing Ellucian Analytics today. With Ellucian Analytics, administrators and faculty will be able to utilize interactive dashboards and reports leveraging thousands of data elements to improve the student experience from recruitment to graduation.

Ellucian Analytics is the latest addition to the suite of cloud-based solutions developed by Ellucian specifically for higher education institutions. It provides enhanced accessibility features and a modern interface so information can be viewed anywhere, including web, tablet and mobile devices.

“With the right data and analytics, colleges and universities can positively impact the experience they have with the student, improve retention and help them graduate on time,” said James Willey, vice president, product management at Ellucian. “There is a big divide between how colleges and universities are currently using student information and the potential to transform the college experience.”

Additional key findings include:

  • Students also see great potential for personal data to improve the college experience. Eighty-two percent of students believe the personal information schools collect will transform the college experience in ten years.
  • When students were asked to pick an institution best able to use their personal information to improve their experience, a college or university ranks #1 (42%), ranking ahead of a doctor’s office (23%) and a financial company, such as a credit card or bank (12%).
  • Like experienced consumers, students want universities to be efficient with their data. Almost all (93%) modern students expect they should only have to provide their personal information to their institution once, with 53% agreeing strongly.
  • Students are willing to provide more information to enhance their college experience. In fact, one in four students said that they would provide their least favorite childhood photos if it improved their chances of getting admitted to an institution.

To learn more, visit: or stop by booth 601 at EDUCAUSE.

About the Study

The Ellucian Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research ( among 1,000 U.S. college students, between October 13th and 19th, 2016, using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.


About Ellucian

Inspired by the transformative impact of education, Ellucian develops solutions that power the essential work of colleges and universities. As the world’s leading provider of software and services designed for higher education, Ellucian works with more than 2,500 institutions in nearly 50 countries—enhancing operations and enriching the experience for over 18 million students.

Ellucian provides student information systems (SIS), finance and HR, recruiting, retention, analytics and advancement software solutions. With more than 1,400 institutions subscribing to Ellucian’s cloud services and SaaS offerings, the company is one of the largest providers of cloud-based solutions in higher education. Ellucian also supports the higher education community with a range of professional services such as application software implementation, training, education, and management consulting.

Ellucian brings power, passion, and performance to bear for higher education, and its ability to better our world. Visit Ellucian at

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