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Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc. Launches Starfish EARLY ALERT - Comprehensive Early Warning and Student Tracking System

Arlington, Va. (PRWEB) February 3, 2009

Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc. (http://www.starfishsolutions.com), a leading provider of student success systems, today announced the general availability of Starfish EARLY ALERT?. Offering the latest in early warning and student tracking capabilities, the system helps academic institutions keep more students in school. The system enables real time identification of students who are at-risk of dropping out due to academic, financial or social challenges. Starfish EARLY ALERT then notifies the students' support community, who can initiate the appropriate interventions. In today's economic climate, student retention efforts are a critical means of preserving important revenue for any institution.

Starfish EARLY ALERT has been designed based on industry research revealing that today's colleges and schools need a system that reflects the full continuum of student support, from identifying an at-risk student in real time to facilitating the appropriate support interventions to assessing which interventions are the most effective. These institutions also desire a system that is easy to access, is easy to use, and limits the need for redundant data entry.

Accessible with a single log-in to an institution's course management system (e.g., Blackboard), Starfish EARLY ALERT automatically detects students who are at-risk by reviewing grades in the online grade book, monitoring participation in online portions of a course and recording when students do not complete their course work by the assigned deadlines. The system also allows a student's support network (e.g., instructors, advisors, counselors and resident hall staff) to manually flag students that have poor attendance, academic trouble, financial difficulty, social stresses or even more serious concerns. When a student is identified to be at-risk, Starfish EARLY ALERT, in compliance with FERPA guidelines, immediately notifies the appropriate individuals to directly intervene.

Through Starfish CONNECT?, an educational support networking tool that integrates with Starfish EARLY ALERT, members of a student's support network can then refer the student to the appropriate support services (e.g., tutoring, financial aid counseling). Starfish CONNECT helps students overcome the natural reluctance to engage with new people and campus services, by letting them learn more about the support services available, read endorsements from other students who have benefited from the services, and schedule appointments with the recommended instructors, advisors and counselors. Tying identification of at-risk students to the appropriate intervention allows institutions to more quickly respond to needs and automatically assess the impact of their efforts.

"Kettering University is very pleased with the direction that Starfish is taking its early warning system," said Carol Brooks, director of academic advising at Kettering University. "Our previous red-flag system required a lot of paperwork and manual look-ups. The current pilot program with Starfish is aimed at getting at-risk students in for help faster, increasing the number of students who are receiving support, and closing the loop with faculty that have alerted us to the issue. We are very encouraged by the feedback from our faculty and advisors that are participating in the pilot, and we look forward to measuring its impact in the coming months."

Following a formal testing period in partnership with more than 15 academic institutions, Starfish EARLY ALERT is available through an annual license. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) system requires no additional hardware or IT staffing investment to install, operate or maintain.

"Given the current financial pressures facing higher education, improving student success and retention is an important priority for colleges and universities. A new generation of software solutions offers institutions the ability to identify in real time which students are struggling - providing an incredible advantage for an institution seeking to improve student retention," said Nicole Engelbert, lead analyst at Datamonitor. "By connecting to course management systems, Starfish has created a powerful and efficient way of providing timely information that helps improve how at-risk students are identified and then connected to the myriad of institutional support resources that can help them succeed."
"Every week, we speak to institutions that recognize that students are falling through the cracks due to academic, personal or financial challenges. Often there is at least one person on campus who knows of the problem but is not in a position to help directly, or to guide the student to the appropriate support," said David Yaskin, CEO and founder of Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc. "The response to Starfish EARLY ALERT has been tremendous. Our design and beta partners, representing all types of institutions, see Starfish EARLY ALERT as a system that can identify the at-risk student and centralize information about that student so that the campus community can help."

About Starfish Retention Solutions
Starfish Retention Solutions is a leading provider of student success systems. The company offers a collection of software solutions that harness the power of the campus community to engage, motivate and graduate more students - securing valuable tuition revenue through student retention. Specifically, the solutions help institutions identify at-risk students in real time, based on their daily coursework performance, and then connect them to the resources designed to help (e.g., advising, tutoring) - all while assessing which services and interventions are working. For more information, please call 703.260.1186 or visit http://www.starfishsolutions.com.

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