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Bastyr University and Kai Analytics

Reducing the Rate of Student Attrition at Bastyr University

Bastyr University, one of the leading schools of naturopathic medicine in the United States, wanted to identify what was causing lower student satisfaction scores, and thus engagement, at their campuses. They turned to Kai Analytics to quantify their student satisfaction surveys in a way that was faster, more intuitive and minimized bias.

What We Did

We polled over 1,000 students at Bastyr University on how they felt about the quality of education in their program and how the quality of campus services measured up to their expectations. We then rated responses using the net promoter score to gauge how students felt about their program. Using text analysis, Kai Analytics identified five key themes in student responses and summed them up in a report that was easy to digest.

infographic - improved approval rates to 91%.

Improved approval rates to 91%.

infographic - Overall attrition improved from by 4%, saving an estimated $259,000 of Revenue.

Overall attrition improved from by 4%, saving an estimated $259,000 of revenue.

infographic - Improved survey response rates to 59%.

Improved survey response rates to 59%.


Kai Analytics was able to analyze the raw comments from our respondents quickly to identify the biggest areas of focus. The report he produced was clear and provided us with the resources to draft an effective communiqué back to our community and implement the necessary changes.


3 Key Insights

A cluster analysis by Kai Analytics showing how different topics are associated with each other.

Hearing what students had to say:

We helped identify 5 key issues that the university could address right away by analyzing trends in student responses.

  1. Upgrading printers across campus

  2. The need for more community and study space

  3. The importance that different food options held for students

  4. The importance of successful clinical training

  5. The need for increased campus security

Students recognized their voices were heard.

After steps were taken to address the key issues identified in the survey results, we followed up with stakeholders. We helped draft an email to students that outlined the actions taken by the university to address their concerns and show them that their voices were heard. This email was one of the key actions that helped improve response rates.

Writing an email from university president to students, addressing student concerns and showing how the university addressed them
infographic showing 30% of first-year students dropping out of school and costing American higher education an estimated $37 billion in lost revenue

Know the Cost of Student Attrition

All the themes we identified were described in one way or another by the hundreds of students who responded to the survey. Text analysis made it possible to glean these insights while sidestepping the tedious process of processing each response individually, in a similar process to the graph below. By relying on statistical processes, we mitigated human bias. To read more about this process check out our blog post on the power of natural language processing in higher education.

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