Clarion University of Pennsylvania Improves Retention Rates by 5% Using Research Insights



Clarion’s priority is to retain top student talent. To improve retention, Moneta’s institutional research team wanted to understand what factors enable students to succeed at Clarion. He commissioned Hanover to track the institution’s newest freshman cohort, with an emphasis on minority and first- generation college populations.


Hanover analyzed Clarion’s student data from 2006 through 2011 to assess which demographic, institutional, and academic variables were the most useful predictors of four-year and five-year graduation and second-, third-, fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-year retention. Analysts developed multiple analytical models that assessed retention factors, predictors of conditional retention, and the likelihood of on-time graduation.


Hanover determined that a student’s high school ranking is a strong predictor of retention and graduation and as such, Clarion should strive to improve these student success metrics by increasing its admission rates of higher ranked students. Additional report findings regarding Clarion’s historical retention trends and the specific student qualities that may be predictive of retention and on-time graduation are outlined below.

Clarion Research results



Moneta and Clarion’s administrators discussed the report when evaluating the institution’s current and historical challenges for ensuring retention and encouraging graduation. After reviewing the data, Clarion’s administrators identified current gaps in services and created new programs to better target at-risk student populations. Administrators implemented a number of retention-focused initiatives, including:

  • Developing programs focused specifically on the success and retention of new freshman;
  • Investing in data-based software and resources intended to further student persistence efforts; and
  • Establishing new support services through the Student Minority Affairs Office geared towards the success and retention of minority students.

Clarion results

logo: Clarion University

“Clarion has succeeded in raising our retention rates to totals significantly higher than the institution had experienced prior to using data-driven decision making. Using this retention data has helped us to develop interventions and identify high-impact programs that will not only help our students succeed, but also keep them here until graduation.” – Ray Moneta, Director of Information Management and Institutional Research


With Hanover’s support, Moneta and his lean team have become more effective in fulfilling the data requests of Clarion’s President, Provost, other university departments, and the PASSHE Chancellor. Moneta stated:

“Hanover helps our team learn how our practices can be enhanced. Through the research, we are able to take action and make the right choices for our institution.”

Clarion is also assessing the viability of new credentials of interest, as well as degree programs that might need to be re-evaluated in accordance with market trends. During the institution’s year-long, fixed-fee partnership engagement, Moneta has tasked Hanover to perform market evaluations, program demand analyses, and workforce demand studies. After taking Hanover’s report of the student demand and the labor market outlook for engineering degrees into consideration when expanding its current program portfolio, the institution plans to move forward with two new engineering credentials.

Clarion University will continue to apply Hanover’s research when supporting the success of its current students and when making critical internal decisions regarding future program expansion initiatives.

Clarion University logo

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