The University of Arizona is hoping that tracking freshman ID swipes at places like the campus rec center will help the school improve retention rates.

According to The Verge, UA has been recording and tracking freshman student ID swipes at places like the library, the residence halls and the recreation center, as well as at vending machines and other on-campus point-of-sale locations. The information can then be analyzed for trends that might raise red flags that a student is flailing.

“By getting their digital traces, you can explore their patterns of movement, behavior and interactions, and that tells you a great deal about them,” said Sudha Ram, a professor of management information systems.

Researchers at UA have been gathering data from freshman ID cards for more than three years now and they’ve found that predictions based on the information about who is most likely to drop out are nearly 73 percent accurate.

From AB Important Features to Look for in Campus Rec Software

The school has set in place ways to intervene if they believe a student is poised to drop out. “As early as the first day of classes, even for freshmen, these predictive analytics are creating highly accurate indicators that inform what we do to support students in our programs and practice,” said Angela Baldasare, assistant provost for institutional research at the university. 

Ram said that most students have made up their minds about school by the 12th week of classes, which he said is the prime time to intervene.

The University of Arizona’s retention rates in 2017 rose to 86.5 percent for residents and almost 89 percent for international students.

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.