Study: Big data helps struggling college students graduate

FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2106 file photo, a pedestrian walks by the library at the Georgia State University campus in Atlanta. Getting through college is not an easy task, but it can be even harder for low-income or first generation students who have few support resources. Now big data can help them. Researchers at Georgia State University spent four years analyzing students’ grades, test scores and other data in order to identify those who were at risk of failing and promptly assist them. The results have been remarkable: the number of students graduating has jumped by 30 percent and students are spending less time and money to earn a degree. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Researchers say they’ve found a tool involving big data to help low-income and first generation students do better in college.

Georgia State University researchers spent four years analyzing students’ grades, test scores and other information. They used that data to identify those who were at risk of failing — and then promptly assisted them.

The results show that the number of students graduating has jumped by 30 percent and students are spending less time and money to earn a degree.

Principal researcher Timothy Renick calls the gains encouraging. He says all students benefited from the project, but the ones who benefited the most were first generation, low income and students of color.

Renick is vice president for enrollment management and student success at the school.

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