Valdosta State University Identifies Key Correlations in Student Data to Improve Student Retention, Progression, and Graduation Rates

Valdosta State University Identifies Key Correlations in Student Data to Improve Student Retention, Progression, and Graduation Rates

Established in 1906, Valdosta State University (VSU) is an American public university and is one of the two regional universities in the University System of Georgia. Valdosta State includes five colleges offering 56 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate programs and degrees.




A word from Valdosta State University

  • "With Oracle Business Intelligence and Oracle Endeca Information Discovery, Valdosta State University has achieved long-term goals in a very short period of time. We have much better insight into student data, helping us to identify at-risk students, promote student success, and improve graduation and retention rates.” – Brian Haugabrook, CIO, Valdosta State University

  • Address a 67% one-year student retention rate, which costs the university US$6.5 million in lost revenue per year
  • Collect and analyze structured and unstructured student data from multiple sources to more quickly and effectively identify at-risk students, engage appropriate faculty and staff, and develop targeted programs to improve student retention
  • Enhance administrative productivity by accelerating response times to data requests from faculty and staff


  • Implemented Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition to provide more than 600 faculty and staff members with rich insight into student academic performance
  • Provided instant, on-demand access to student class loads and grades to enable faculty to make timely decisions on how to facilitate student success, whether the right path is notifying the student’s advisor, conducting one-on-one meetings, or implementing tutoring services
  • Used Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition’s interactive dashboards to improve administrative productivity by more than 500% by enabling administrative staff to fulfill 90% of all data requests from faculty, department heads, deans, and Office of Financial Aid grants staff within 24 hours—compared to the previous average response time of one to three weeks
  • Implemented Oracle Endeca Information Discovery to combine structured and unstructured student data—like student surveys and ID card usage data—in one system for analysis
  • Enabled the university to examine granular data to draw previously unknown correlations to make more informed decisions—for example, determining that students who eat breakfast on campus have a 10% higher retention rate
  • Used Oracle Endeca Information Discovery to discover that freshmen who work on campus have an 85% retention rate, compared to the general freshman population, which has a 55% retention rate—helping spur a decision to invest US$200,000 in student jobs on campus, which will likely save the university US$2 million in retention costs over two years
  • Streamlined IT responsibilities and cut database administration time in half, enabling database administrators and programmers to focus on core tasks, such as implementing new web applications, exploring new technologies, and building new reports

Why Oracle

After attending a demonstration on Oracle Endeca at a local industry event, Valdosta State University saw the value in combining and analyzing unstructured data with the structured data stored in the university’s Oracle Database-based data warehouse.

“We are a small university with limited resources, and as such, we needed to deploy a solution quickly and affordably. Oracle provided the breadth and depth of functionality we needed to enable us to accomplish a great deal in a very short period of time. The ability to combine and analyze unstructured and structured data, matched with our previous experience with Oracle’s robust business intelligence solutions, made Oracle the clear choice.”

Implementation Process

Valdosta State University began implementing the multiphase project in April 2012, and released phase one—Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition—to faculty and staff campuswide in August 2012, on time and on budget. In the fall of 2012, Valdosta State University conducted a pilot program with Oracle Endeca Information Discovery, combining unstructured data, including survey and card-reader data, in just two weeks. The university continues to expand its data warehouse and business intelligence tools across all campus areas, including alumni relations, student life, housing, and student affairs.