How Arbol became part of the solution at Canisius University
Private university in Buffalo with more than 100 majors
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,788
How it started
Canisius University needed to find a solution to its retention issues, as the demographics of its core market (Buffalo) have tightened its pipeline of quality applicants. The university’s undergraduate enrollment has declined about 40% in the past decade.
Those facts alone are driving Canisius’ appetite for change, but there are other catalysts as well. New university president Steve Stoute came to campus looking for innovative answers to the institution's looming business questions. And Canisius has the capacity to invest in those answers, with a $170 million endowment.
The university turned to Arbol for two reasons:
- Gaining proactive insight into the financial vulnerability of its students.
- Giving Canisius student affairs officers a chance at keeping them in school.
The Arbol plan
Students: Canisius University introduced Arbol to students in its HEOP, Spark and COPE opportunity programs in summer 2023. Using Arbol, those students are given a higher level of transparency into their own financial situations along with a platform designed to drive them toward healthy choices. About 100 Canisius students use the Arbol platform.
Staff: University staff is using Arbol to track the financial health of individual students, build bespoke plans around their individual needs and connect them to existing on-campus resources such as emergency funds, food pantries and partnership discounts.
Leadership: Canisius is also using the data generated on Arbol’s platform to make broader strategic decisions, which flow up through vice president of student affairs Harold Fields and to president Stoute.
What we found
Data from Arbol’s platform has led to some stark realizations at Canisius, where many students face deep gaps between their income and expenses. This has allowed the college to treat each students’ specific needs at an appropriate level, giving student affairs staff a much more proactive tool to keep students on the path toward their long-term goals.
Arbol puts the data needed behind strategic initiatives that need support. With data, leaders can prioritize more effectively. In some cases, even use the data to fundraise.
They said it…
“Before Arbol, we had a generalized set of assumptions about the financial vulnerability of our students. Now that we’ve implemented the Arbol platform, we have clean, clear data that can inform our actions with individual students and broader strategy. This is the kind of specialized product and expertise that requires an innovative partner – colleges can’t do it alone.”