Social inequality is at the root of retention
Is the issue of retention really more a concern about student welfare, or is it more a problem for schools? Affordable tuition and education costs, empathetic and effective services for students, and relevant learning processes made possible by spending allocations that prioritize human capital as well as learning technologies - all these would go a long way toward decreasing the social and economic inequalities at the bottom of retention issues. Meanwhile, everything old is new again...depending on education trends, budgets, and spending priorities.
Here's an Academica Top Ten (16 June 2016) summary of an article focusing student success courses, retention alerts, "passionate professors," followed by a link to the original article:
US college mobilizes faculty as "secret weapon" in student retention
North Carolina Southwest Community College has mobilized its faculty to help improve its student retention rate. The college brought passionate professors on board with what it calls "Retention Action Committees," small task forces created to help generate specific goals to help retain students. The groups developed initiatives including a revival of a mandatory first-year student success course and a retention alert process that notifies faculty when concerns arise. Faculty were enthusiastic participants and helped champion a "cultural shift" across campus. "Improving retention and completion is a responsibility that belongs to us. It's not just something that resides in student services," said NCSCC VP Instruction and Student Learning Thom Brooks. American Association of Community Colleges News