Skip to content
Student Success in Higher Education

Using Data Analytics to Drive Retention Strategies

An illustration of a person analyzing charts of data under a large microscope

University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), established in 1910, is a Carnegie R1 research institution and one of the nation’s leading research universities, serving over 10,600 undergraduate and 3,400 graduate students, both online and in-person.

A perennial challenge for leadership was having ready access to accurate, shared data on student success, financial health of academic programs, and other critical metrics. Like every institution, USM needed data analytics to determine whether their tactics for driving student success and program productivity translated into tangible results. 

"HelioCampus worked with us every step of the way to answer the questions we had about our data. The goal wasn’t to give us pre-packaged datasets but to work with us, listen to our needs, and help us find answers to our specific questions."
Amy L. Chasteen, Ph.D.
Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

How USM Uses the Data


Data-Empowered Leadership

As with many institutions, USM’s Institutional Research (IR) office was small. The university also lacked the staff and resources within IT to build a data warehouse or gather the extensive analytics from across the university necessary for deeper insights. Since information is trapped in silos, departments would sometimes disagree about their different datasets, often leading to confusion. With access to data-fed dashboards at their fingertips, Deans can now make stronger, more informed arguments based on metrics such as student credit hours, degree production, and graduation rates.


Optimizing Academic Programming

Making decisions about academic programs is a complex process for every university, with leaders from different departments advocating for investment in various programs and institutions striving to balance cost and revenue centers in the institutional profile. By leveraging the HelioCampus platform, USM leaders were able to cut through this confusion and optimize their programming to meet the needs of students more effectively.


Strategic Enrollment Management

With increased expectations from students and their families, enrollment management in higher ed is much more complicated than even five years ago. It requires responding to questions about the value of a college education, meeting the needs of diverse student bodies, and delivering sophisticated online options. Today, USM can leverage the HelioCampus data to provide crucial insights to find the best ways to support students with unmet financial needs.

An illustration of two people placing puzzle pieces to form the path ahead of them

Building a Data Culture

While USM’s partnership with HelioCampus resulted in a data platform that helps university leaders make more informed decisions, the relationship was about more than technology. USM was able to build a culture that embraces data transparency and consistency to drive decision making, strategically allocating precious dollars where they will have the most impact.

Learn More About the Results

Read the case study to learn more about how USM partnered with HelioCampus in 2018 to drive more informed decision-making, resulting in three powerful benefits as they transitioned to becoming a more data-informed institution.

Download Now
USM case study cover