Colleges, Universities Tap SAS Visual Analytics to Help Students

Several top colleges and universities are using SAS Visual Analytics to help with student enrollment and performance.

ORLANDO, Fla.—Business analytics provider SAS Institute announced that colleges and universities worldwide are enhancing enrollment programs, teaching, institutional research and public transparency by using better data visualization technology, namely from SAS.

SAS Visual Analytics analyzes and visualizes large data sets for faster, more accurate information about student enrollment and performance, faculty excellence, IT investments, Ph.D. programs and other data. Moreover, in the classroom, students learn valuable analytics skills using SAS.

For instance, the University of Texas (UT) System Productivity Dashboard uses SAS Visual Analytics to let people see how the system is performing. UT Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives Stephanie Bond Huie discussed the results at a panel on visualizing big data at the SAS Premier Business Leadership Series (PBLS) here. The PBLS is a business conference presented by SAS that brings together more than 600 attendees from the public and private sectors to share ideas on critical business issues.

SAS Visual Analytics is an in-memory solution for exploring any amount of data quickly. Users can spot patterns, identify opportunities for further analysis, and convey results with visual clarity via Web reports or iPad and Android tablets.

Quickly formatting large amounts of data for processing, SAS Visual Analytics lets users explore all data and not just a sample. They can execute analytic correlations on billions of rows of information in just minutes or seconds, and present results in easy-to-understand charts, graphs and animations. SAS can also quickly identify patterns, trends and relationships that are not apparent unless graphically displayed.

Sandra Woodley, who led the dashboard initiative for the UT System, recently became president of the University of Louisiana (UL) System and is implementing a similar dashboard for its nine universities and 90,000 students. She plans to expand the initiative in her system to align students, degree and career choices, and workforce needs. Woodley is pursuing public-private partnerships, supported by analytics, to match employers with students early in their academic careers. She said she hopes to increase the pipeline of talent to fill skill gaps in high-demand fields.

"Analytics provides the intelligence we need to implement strategies that fuel economic competitiveness, while at the same time matching our students' highest potential to real job and internship opportunities," Woodley said in a statement. "SAS Visual Analytics will help us make those connections and show the public and decision makers how our universities are performing, and how we can grow Louisiana competitively."

Meanwhile, the University of New Mexico's Institutional Analytics department plans to use SAS Visual Analytics to rapidly analyze student success data and perform quick forecasts of student retention and graduation rates. The department also plans to use SAS Visual Analytics in financial planning. College administrators will be able to forecast tuition revenue and conduct analyses of the effects of course offerings and instructor assignments on tuition.

In addition, the Florida Board of Governors—the governing body for the state's public universities—has selected SAS Visual Analytics to support transparency and graduation efforts. And Birmingham City University in the U.K. will use SAS Visual Analytics for institutional research and in an analytics master's course.

Other institutions using SAS Visual Analytics include Australia's University of New South Wales; Taiwan's Soochow University; Switzerland's Zurich University of Applied Sciences; and the U.K.'s University of Derby, Regents University London and Sheffield Hallam University.

SAS has more than three decades of experience working in education, and SAS software is used at more than 3,000 institutions worldwide for teaching, research and administration.