Muskegon Community College

Data fuels increased graduation rates

Muskegon Community College strengthens student-counselor communications with Ellucian CRM Advise

Graduate in cap and gown


  • Two-year graduation rate increased from 16% to 19%
  • Six-year graduation rate increased from 38% to 50%
  • More effective communications across campus


We've increased our two-year graduation rate in the last four years from 16% to 19%. We've increased our six-year graduation rate over a seven-year period from 38% to 50%. And among community colleges, 50% is a very good number. Retention is difficult for any institution, at a community college particularly. We take all comers for the most part. Most of our programs are open enrollment. Some aren't. So nursing, respiratory therapy, or health care programs are not open enrollment, but most are.

So, to retain a student, we have to do all sorts of things to keep those students engaged. Unless we have data, we cannot understand who our students are, how they are behaving in class, what we're doing right as an institution and what we're doing wrong as an institution. So, it's very important to us to have data, and very good data, to support the stories.

We have a program called CRM Advise that helps our counselors, our faculty, and staff communicate with our students very effectively. From the time they enter class, and actually before they enter class, until they leave, we want those students to be able to understand if they are going off track in any way, whether it would be grades, whether it be attendance, Advise helps us understand that.

Students, they think we're on their back, we're asking for too much information and we're intruding. And then they quickly realize that, for them to be successful, they need, in many cases, a helping hand. And so, it's up to us as faculty, as staff, as administrators to help our students stay on track.

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Dale Nesbary
Muskegon Community College
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