The University of Southern Mississippi

Cultivating a Climate of Data-Informed Decision Making

University of Southern Mississippi


The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a Carnegie R1 research institution and one of the nation’s leading research universities. But, in spite of their vigorous programs and stalwart reputation, a decade ago USM was faced with a downturn in enrollment, coupled with declining state funding support. When Rodney D. Bennett took over as president of USM in 2013, he knew the urgent issues in front of the institution would require a mind shift – something he prioritized to his new staff, early on. To effect lasting change, USM’s leaders had some hard work ahead of them in the form of strategic planning and developing a data-focused approach to attracting, retaining, and serving students. They also knew they would need a partner with deep expertise in analytics – a partner like HelioCampus.

Read the case study to learn more about how HelioCampus delivered a comprehensive data analytics platform providing a capability to directly support USM's Vision 2020 Plan for Academic Reorganization.

“In the past, we could only do very basic retention modeling that identified only the highest level of risk factors. But HelioCampus allows us to be much more nuanced. Now we can identify specific students who are most at-risk and which dollar amounts would be most likely to affect them and help them stay here. We can also look at our own modeling around financial aid and identify the best way to utilize those dollars holistically to maximize enrollment at the institution.”

Steven R. Moser

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, The University of Southern Mississippi

USM partnered with HelioCampus
in order to...

  • Increase visibility into the connections between admissions, enrollment, student outcomes and financial data;
  • Use data to directly support their Vision 2020 Plan for Academic Reorganization;
  • Support institutional initiatives and data-informed decision making;
  • Develop better ways to understand and manage program costs through data.

Focused Analyses Including:

  •  Yield and retention modeling;
  • Price sensitivity;
  • Contribution margin analysis;
  • Financial aid optimization;
  • Program Costing.

Learn More About the Journey 

Read the Case Study