Marshall’s focus on retention is good strategy

An editorial from The Herald Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Colleges and universities across the nation are faced with declining enrollments — a challenge that has implications for the institutions themselves but also for their respective states and the nation as a whole.

As fewer students pursue higher education, those institutions suffer lower revenues, adding more to the squeeze already brought about by cuts in state aid in recent years. The broader impact is that, with fewer students enrolling and completing requirements for degrees, state and national workforces are less prepared to compete successfully in the increasingly global marketplace. That can hurt local, state and national economies.

Marshall University — as well as most colleges and universities in West Virginia — has not escaped this trend. Enrollment at Marshall and higher education institutions statewide has declined by about 4 percent over the last two academic years based on fall headcounts.

One way that the Huntington university as well as the state’s Higher Education Policy Commission has responded is to put a greater emphasis on helping the students they do attract stay in school and be successful. That’s an approach that makes sense…

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