Originally published: February 12, 2011
Last updated: February 12, 2011 - 11:25am
This is the time of year when students are wondering whether they will get accepted to the college of their choice. But many colleges and universities are asking themselves another question: How can we hold onto students once they're enrolled?
Some schools see half their freshmen disappear because so many drop out. To address this problem, some schools build physical spaces — new dorms with themes and clubs to make sure new students get involved. Those strategies can help. But schools are now trying to keep students coming back with a new twist on a familiar tool — social networking. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also been looking for new approaches to keep students coming back. The foundation is announcing that it will invest $2 million in Inigral — a company that is trying to build virtual college communities by creating school-based Facebook sites. It's the first time that the Gates nonprofit foundation has bought an actual equity stake in a for-profit company.
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