May 13 2021

Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) and Credo are pleased to announce the launch of a first Moving the Needle Cohort in Fall 2021 to improve student outcomes across ACCU member institutions.

Congratulations to the following institutions for engaging their communities in Moving the Needle, a partnership that engages the full campus in developing, implementing, and enhancing the conditions, practices, systems, and solutions that foster student success and retention:

1.  Assumption University, Worcester, MA
2.  Gwynedd Mercy University, Philadelphia, PA
3.  Newman University, Wichita, KS
4.  Mount St. Mary's University, Emmitsburg, MD
5.  University of St. Francis, Joliet, IL

Outcomes from this partnership will:

  • Build on the rich collaborative expertise of ACCU and the proven results of Credo’s Moving the Needle (MTN) project.
  • Bring small cohorts of Catholic colleges and universities together to strengthen their capacity to support students from matriculation to graduation.
  • Identify each cohort institution’s challenges and opportunities regarding retention, uncovering the most promising areas for progress and implementing proven strategies for success.
  • Result in improved retention and graduation rates, a corresponding increase in institutional net revenue and the strengthening of each school’s mission and institutional culture.
The cultural and financial echoes of this cohort will reverberate throughout each campus, each community, and the entire region. Not only will each institution see positive student success outcomes, the work of this cohort has the potential to drive cultural and economic shifts, starting with—but certainly not limited to—catalyzing the increased health and sustainability for the institutions at the heart of the work, their students, and their communities.

Learn more about Moving The Needle.

Why Student Success?

Student retention is a top priority for ACCU member campuses. For students, successful completion of their initial semesters of college involves their immersion in their school’s distinctive culture and community and is the foundation for them to achieve a baccalaureate degree and pursue their postgraduate goals. For ACCU member schools, improving retention rates is essential to enhancing the inclusive, student-centered mission of Catholic higher education.

At a challenging time for increasing new student enrollment, improved retention is a critical strategy for institutions to achieve sustained financial resilience. Most Catholic colleges and universities were founded by religious orders to serve underserved immigrant communities, so ACCU schools place special emphasis on enrolling and graduating first-generation and low-income students of diverse backgrounds. For this reason, student success is naturally central to ACCU, enabling the association to “contribute to the greater good of the world” by graduating motivated, ethical students ready to contribute to society.

The Momentum of Collaboration

Though a Moving the Needle (MTN) partnership can be undertaken with great success without a cohort, bringing together a group of institutions with a common connection such as vision, mission, or association exponentially increases the opportunity for driving successful outcomes. Learning from each other, cohort participants will develop and implement inclusive, campus-wide student success and retention practices for their campuses and greater, interconnected communities.

About the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

Founded in 1899, the ACCU serves as the collective voice of U.S. Catholic higher education. Through programs and services, the association strengthens and promotes the Catholic identity and mission of its member institutions so that all associated with Catholic higher education can contribute to the greater good of the world and the Church.

About Credo

Credo is a consulting firm whose mission is to help higher education thrive in order to impact the success of students. Credo has been an essential resource for more than 450 colleges and universities for 25 years. Credo’s MTN has been implemented by 17 schools to date. One hundred percent of schools that have completed the full program have seen short- and long-term results including significant increases in student retention ranging from twelve to twenty-four percent over four years and in additional annual net revenue between one and two million dollars.

The ACCU and Credo look forward to sharing the results of this cohort. We thank each participant for their commitment to a culture of student success and the rich diversity of thought, experience, background, and perspective that each brings to this exciting new cohort.

Additional Resources

Continue Reading