Perspective on Predictive Analytics Products from a Data Scientist

The traditional higher education industry will be faced with many challenges over the next decade. These include generational declines in student populations, declining state and federal funding, and new education models competing with traditional higher-ed institutions.

Institutions are looking for new technological solutions for sustainable growth and revenue plans while operating with tightening margins. Inevitably this means leveraging data for informed decision making for nearly all university leadership teams.

Are you considering internal hires?

Many colleges and universities may consider building their own in-house data science teams. The benefits of having…


Featured in Education Technology Insights Magazine.

Author: Ashley N. Kern — SightLine Founder and Data Scientist

SightLine, Inc., is a growing boutique analytics firm providing targeted, easy to interpret predictive analytics and market intelligence solutions for colleges and universities. We empower higher education institutions to better understand the data they already have without complicated software installations and training.

SightLine is dedicated to personal customer services throughout the engagement. Clients have direct contact with our consultants and data scientists working with their data. We encourage a collaborative relationship with our clients allowing them to request adjustments to the analysis and outputs…


Feb 2, 2021, East Lansing, MI — Today SightLine, Inc. announced the closing of their pre-seed investment round with the addition of Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III (Michigan Rise), a subsidiary of the Michigan State University Foundation.

With ten university customers to date, SightLine is scaling their predictive analytics framework, making analytics accessible to institutions of all sizes. SightLine customers range from small private institutions to large publics with more than 20,000 students. Their hands-on, engaging approach to analytics makes their solution accessible and actionable to all.

Michigan Rise, funded by Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Michigan State University…


In the world of the COVID-19 pandemic, students shopping for higher education options have become more savvy out of necessity. At SightLine, we believe there will be a reckoning that many students will not continue to pay high tuition prices. We foresee a divergent market between high cost and more value-based universities.

There will always be a market for perceived elite institutions with high sticker prices, no matter what the discount rate is. But we are seeing a trend of mid- to even high-caliber institutions that have had declining student yield rates over the past decade. These institutions have increased…


This year, overall college enrollment is down by 4% according to the National Student Clearinghouse. Community Colleges are hurting the most with a 9.4% decrease in enrollment. This is most strongly impacting first-year students, with an overall decline of 22.7% nationwide including four- and two-year institutions.

The only institution type that has seemed to emerge unscathed are private for-profit four-year colleges and universities which are seeing a 3% increase in enrollment compared to last year.

We view this rapid decline in enrollment as the first of multiple hurtles to come. Higher education cannot take another hit to enrollment numbers and…


Universities across the country have been financially strained due to COVID-19 operational disruptions. It is more important than ever to manage institutional financial aid budgets effectively and efficiently.

The Challenge:

Developing an accurate annual financial aid projection for continuing undergraduate students is challenging. If your institution does not know which of your continuing undergraduates are returning next year, it is very difficult to estimate how much institutional aid will be paid out. Under pre-COVID conditions, financial aid budget errors could reach up to 10% annually. …


HOUGHTON, MI — Now more than ever, higher education needs to re-examine opportunities to leverage data, a readily available resource for all institutions. COVID has disrupted higher-ed in a way that was never expected. In response, SightLine has pivoted to support customers by releasing two new data products: a COVID Quantification analysis and a personalized Strategic Pricing and Competitive Marketplace Report.

Both of these new products are critical to navigating the next few months of 2020 as well as preparing for the fall 2021 enrollment cycle, which is just around the corner. …


This article is part two of a two-part series to help your institution bounce back from the disruption of COVID-19.

At SightLine, we recognize that disruptions in the 2019–20 academic year will affect both enrollment (Part 1) and retention (Part 2) at your institution. Alongside Dr. Jim Hundrieser, Vice President of Consulting at the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), we are providing ideas to re-engage with your continuing undergraduate students to keep them on the right track. …


The COVID-19 virus has completely changed life in America after just a few short weeks. Every day schedules, our shopping and eating habits, and even our interactions with friends and family have been disrupted. These changes are even more apparent nationwide on college campuses that where in-person classes have grinded to a halt. Of course there are many questions on the minds of higher education administrators, managers and students across the country. SightLine has paired up with Dr. …


Identifying individual students who are at-risk of dropping out is often a subjective exercise in higher education. Additionally, for each student the institution intervenes with, we must answer the question of why are we intervening? And what resources will we provide this student? It is critical to increase retention and graduation rates, while remaining conscious of intervention resources, budgets and university revenues.

Bringing rigor to the process via predictive analytics and student segmentation will not only give you more accurate results, but also identify these individuals with a longer lead time to plan and execute interventions. …

SightLine - Predictive Analytics for Higher-Ed

SightLine | EdTech Data Scientist | Founder www.SightLineData.com

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