Student support services are more than a nice benefit. They can often mean the difference between graduating or dropping out.

This study from Tyton Partners explores the perspectives of students, advisors, and administrators on support services, with an emphasis on prioritizing equity. Through a comparison of the perspectives of these three audiences, the report identifies opportunities to improve awareness, belonging, and coordination of student support services.

Specifically, the study shows that students who use academic advising, financial aid counseling, and health services feel more connected to their institution. However, many students are unaware of the available support services, and the effectiveness of advising is hindered by advisors having caseloads that are too high. This limits the impact of investments in student support services.

To improve student outcomes, the report’s researchers recommend that institutions and solution providers focus on three areas:

  1. Increase awareness: Actively remind students of resources available to them through as many channels as possible: syllabi, regular announcements in classroom settings, nudges in core systems, website updates, pushed messaging, and advisor meetings.
  2. Foster belonging: Encourage students to seek out financial aid counseling, health services, and career services as students who leverage these supports report an increased sense of belonging at their institution.
  3. Reinforce coordination: Recognize and prioritize the coordination and integration of support services, aiming for holistic advising that addresses all aspects of student life.