Academic and student support services that support student success normally include such activities as library and learning/information resources, faculty resource centers, tutoring, writing centers, student disability support centers, financial aid, admission office, etc. These units provide direct support to faculty and students as related to their educational programs, indirect support for student learning, or a specific co-curricular mission that supports the college experience. It would be common to find that some of these units have expected student outcomes very similar to those of educational programs.
In other cases, expected outcomes might not be related to a directly measurable student learning outcome but instead related to quality of service. It is sometimes difficult to separate assessment of outcomes of administrative goals from assessment of outcomes related to academic and student support services. Generally, these “dual function” units would be assessed like an educational program. If those units are instead addressed in another standard, it is incumbent on the institution to explain how this determination follows from its mission and organizational structure; it is strongly suggested that this explanation appear in both standards of the Compliance Certification. While institutions may organize functions differently, all services, whether administrative or academic student support services, are expected to engage in institutional effectiveness processes.
Often, the nature of academic and student support services differs between services for graduate students and those for undergraduate students. Similarly, some services are geared toward commuter students and others primarily target residential students. While institutions have moved more services online, making them available to residential, online, and off-campus students, this is not always the case. Institutions should take care to address explicitly how outcomes assessment activities take these (and other) student populations into effect.