Fact Sheets Presentations Retention Toolkit Evaluation Toolkit TRIO Clearing- house McNair Scholars Pell Grants


The Pell Institute Retention Toolkit is designed for leaders at postsecondary institutions to identify and alleviate gaps in the success of low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students. Currently, few institutions understand the extent of differences in retention and graduation rates by student income. The Retention Toolkit arms four-year institutions with the tools to undertake more informed and coordinated approaches to retain low-income students, who have been shown in national studies to persist and graduate at rates much lower than their more affluent peers.

The Pell Institute Retention Toolkit consists of four customizable tools:

  • A data collection template allows institutions to identify and track the persistence of their low-income student population, further disaggregated by characteristics such as race/ethnicity and gender. The tool utilizes a longitudinal cohort model to track key indicators of student persistence.
  • A program and policy inventory documents institutions' practices and services that may aid (or inhibit) successful student retention. The inventory documents the existence, usage, and effectiveness of current support services and programs focused on improving retention on campus.
  • A campus dialogue protocol facilitates discussion among faculty, staff, administrators and students about the findings from the data template and inventory. The core campus retention team will help identify areas of opportunity for improving retention.
  • An action plan helps campuses set goals/benchmarks surrounding any retention deficits, as well as action steps to accomplish those goals and implement proposed strategies.

By working with our consultants to use these tools, college leaders can become change agents who use data to set priorities, choose strategies, and evaluate outcomes. This process of data-driven change is a key indicator of institutional quality and of a commitment to improving student success. The Five Pell Institute retention tools are packaged together and can be tailored to each campus' needs.