December 9 2020

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North Carolina Independent College and Universities (NCICU) and Credo are pleased to announce a partnership to improve student outcomes across the North Carolina independent college and university sector. The first cohort will launch in August 2021.

This partnership will:

  • Result in improved retention and graduation rates, a corresponding increase in institutional net revenue, and the strengthening of each school’s institutional culture and regional impact.
  • Build on the rich collaborative expertise of NCICU and the proven results of Credo’s Moving the Needle (MTN) project.
  • Bring small cohorts of North Carolina 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 strategies for success.


Students Success Is Our Success

Student retention is a top priority for NCICU 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 post-graduate goals. For NCICU campuses, improving retention rates is essential to inclusively serving students across North Carolina. Furthermore, at a challenging time for increasing new student enrollment, improved retention is a critical strategy for institutions to achieve sustained financial resilience.

Why Moving The Needle? 

Moving The Needle is a partnership available for individual institutions and cohort groups to increase student success and retention. One hundred percent of institutions who complete Moving The Needle realize increased retention rates and four-year graduation rates. Moving the Needle sprang from Credo's mission to help independent education thrive in order to impact the success of students. Students are at the heart of Credo's strategic work, and bring laser focus to everything we do, from strategic & campus planning to architecture to enrollment to student success and retention

About the Work

Credo’s Moving the Needle (MTN) project is the only campus-consultant partnership that reorients a campus culture around the success of its students, both in strategy and in practice, looking at every aspect of the student experience across campus. It is a multi-year, data-driven effort, with immediate and long-term student success outcomes. MTN is especially built for small and medium-sized campuses, with retention ranging from 60% to 85%. 

In partnership with campus leaders, Credo:

  • co-creates a multi-year, multi-dimensional student success plan that actively engages all divisions of the institution.
  • guides on-campus leadership to achieve monthly and annual milestones and provides targeted expertise on key initiatives.
  • combines national best practices with strategies to address both overall obstacles to student success and the specific needs of different groups of students.
  • builds institutional capacity for leadership, implementation, and accountability.

The proposed project adapts MTN to a cohort approach. Working as a cohort will allow participants to build upon their shared goals, develop rich networks of peers across multiple institutions, and enhance student success effectiveness and regional impact beyond the life of the project. The project requires a modest initial investment and shared risk-and-reward partnership through a revenue-share model. 

About Credo

Credo is a consulting firm focusing exclusively on independent higher education. Its mission is to help independent education thrive in order to support 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. All schools that have completed the full program have seen dramatic results: significant increases in student retention ranging from twelve to twenty-four percent increases over four years and in additional annual net revenue between one and two million dollars.
  • Credo has partnered with more than 20 independent institutions in North Carolina and piloted the revenue-share MTN partnership with an NCICU institution.

Learn more about Moving The Needle | Moving The Needle Cohorts

Credo is thrilled to be a part of the amazing momentum for student success being created by this growing NCICU cohort. We look forward to sharing continuing updates about future cohort, student, and community successes.

For more information about this partnership, please contact Credo Senior Vice President / Owner, Dr. Joretta Nelson at jnelson (at)

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