How Studium Provides Students the College Experience that Helps them Graduate
When Chris Asman, CEO, and founder of Studium, calls on university deans and directors, he begins the conversation by telling them that he is a student dropout building a student retention company.
“I want to help students have the college experience I never had,” Asman said. “I was disconnected from my classmates and the university community. I missed out on everything that wasn’t education. I wasn’t involved. I stopped going to classes, and then I dropped out.”
College Is a 360 Experience; Studium Takes the Students’ Point of View
Asman founded Studium to create a digital campus community that encourages students to build connections that make them feel part of the college community. Those connections help solidify students’ academic achievement and goals.
“When I was in college,” Asman said, “resources, information, and opportunity were segmented across social channels, from the university itself to departments, clubs, organizations, and individual students, and there was a clear lack of personalization. Today’s students are digital natives. They are accustomed to a personalized experience. When something is recommended to them, they expect it to be relevant.”
Studium provides a mobile application to centralize everything a college or university campus has to offer. Engaging at the earliest stage, Studium gives students a personalized campus experience to ensure they feel like they belong and are on their way to a fulfilling, successful college career.
Studium is also an aid to institutional enrollment and retention initiatives. “We engage students early,” Asman said, “making sure the right information and opportunities are put in front of them. Universities know how important student engagement is. First-year retention is a major focus of every institution.”
Asman says there is a consensus across the education industry that financial considerations are the most critical factors contributing to retention. If a student cannot pay, the student cannot go. But after that, the second most important consideration for retention in community belonging—and that’s the sweet spot for Studium,
Studium Validates Retention in the Education Market from the Bottom Up
Studium has been in business for two years; Asman has been working on the business concept and plan for twice that long.
“We spent four months speaking with university administrators, faculty, and students on campus,” said Asman. “We conducted 240,000 student surveys and spoke to students about their problems. This is a drastically different generation. That led us to build our SaaS (software as a solution) model to support this drastically different generation.”
Asman says he learned that the focus of most education technologies is on two things—academics and administrative processes—versus a focus on the total student experience, including outside the classroom.
“Yet students are humans. They have things they have to deal with outside the classroom that don’t have anything to do with academics,” said Asman. “When students don’t have their support system and sit in their dorms being anxious and sad, that becomes more of a driver than their education. Education may be why the student came to college, but education alone may not be enough to keep them there.”
It is not that colleges and universities aren’t focused on retention. “They give students things that are designed to keep them in the loop and to create a more fulfilling college experience,” Asman said, “but often students don’t use them, and there is little or no ROI on the university’s investment.”
Studium curates information—from scholarships to clubs—and delivers it in one place, personalized to the individual student.
“Students are why these institutions exist,” Asman said. “Covid has shown us that while we think kids are fine sitting at home on their phones, most are anxiously awaiting their arrival back on campus. They want to be in classrooms with humans and speak with people. They want to have real conversations. Studium taps into that. When we can put relevant college opportunities in front of like-minded peers, that creates mutual connections with mutual interests.”
Studium is engaged in pilots with three universities and one high school. “Improved retention rates, more diversity and inclusion, and a sense of community belonging–this has everything to do with higher education,” Asman said.