While many colleges are struggling to return to pre-pandemic enrollment numbers, the University of North Texas (UNT) is using software to help enroll its largest classes ever.

Through partnering with analytics leader SAS, UNT now has UNT Insights, a data platform built on SAS Viya that integrates data from across the university and provides dashboards on topics such as admissions, budgeting, degree offerings, financial aid, grades, enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. According to the college, UNT Insights 2.0 is managed by the university’s Data, Analytics, and Institutional Research (DAIR) group, led by Associate Vice President Jason Simon, PhD.

“The future of analytics at the University of North Texas is vibrant,” Simon said. “Building trust in data and analytics has been essential to helping our institutional leaders use data to drive better outcomes for our students.”

According to SAS, UNT Insights has helped increase UNT graduation rates and speed up the time to degree for first-time college students and undergraduate transfer students.

Specifically, first-time students saw their time to degree drop from an average of 4.6 to 4.2 years; six-year graduation rate increase 10 percent, from 49 percent to 59 percent, between 2012 and 2022; and three-year graduation rate jump from 2.3 percent to 11.8 percent between 2012 and 2022.

Additionally, full-time undergraduate transfer students saw their time to degree decrease from an average of 3.4 years to 3.2 years; six-year graduation rate climb from 62 percent in 2012 to 69 percent in 2022; and two-year graduation rate increase from 14 percent in 2012 to 25 percent in 2022.

SAS also claims that UNT has realized significant cost savings with UNT Insights. DAIR was previously processing between 1,400 and 1,600 manual requests. However, by giving users access to analytics and standard reports, those requests have decreased by about 1,000 per year. SAS says that this represents hundreds of staff hours.

“Assuming a very conservative 60 minutes per request, this would equate to 1,000 hours of staff time,” Simon said in a press release. “In essence, the DAIR team has created $52,000 in staffing soft costs that can be redirected and time that can be better spent serving a broader audience of users versus individual data requesters.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs