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Raftr, Community-First Platform for Universities, Sets Record Growth

Global start-up offers campuses student-centered AI-driven systems to engage students throughout the college lifecycle

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San Francisco, CA (August 5, 2021)Raftr, the community-first student engagement platform, today announces unprecedented growth across the globe. In addition to more than doubling the number of universities using Raftr in the past year, activity on the platform has almost tripled, demonstrating even deeper engagement from students who are finding significant value in their communities.

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported on findings from Ithaka S+R research brief that states,  “Decades of research has demonstrated that students who have a strong sense of belonging at their institutions are more likely to persist and graduate, especially true for students from lower-income and first-generation backgrounds and communities of color. A ‘sense of belonging’ for college students can be broadly interpreted as a subjective perception of inclusion, connectedness, and integration in three primary dimensions: social, academic, and institutional.”

Raftr’s comprehensive platform supports allof these connection points within a single, highly customizable space to nurture the full lifecycle of the student journey – from admissions through alumni. Students, faculty, and administrators can communicate and connect with each other and form their own communities on the platform. Raftr leverages content curation AI to further personalize the journey for all audiences.  Schools can reach students where they are in their communities by delivering targeted messaging, sharing events related to residence life, new student orientation, and the academic calendar, and even provide 1-to-1 support from mentors and faculty.

“Because the Raftr platform meets students where they are, we are seeing great adoption and deep engagement,” said Shawn Simmons from the Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusion at UNC Charlotte. “Between our ability to engage in two-way communication with students and their opportunity to connect with each other, they are quickly developing engaging relationships with the school and their peers.”

These meaningful and active human-to-human connections from both students and faculty led Mr. Simmons to extend his school’s use of Raftr to his entire community, from admission through their entire student lifecycle.  Instead of just utilizing the platform during the course of his programs, he is now engaging students with it immediately after admission and will be maintaining communities for students throughout their time at UNC Charlotte.

Colleges and universities expanding their use of Raftr is not unique to UNC Charlotte. 

“Not only have almost all of our initial contracts renewed, but many universities are enhancing their use of Raftr to include multiple stages of the student lifecycle.” says Dr. Carrie Ponikvar, Raftr’s head of Campus Success who spent almost 20 years in higher education and was an early partner while she was at University of Denver. “Furthermore, especially, coming out of the pandemic, we are seeing a significant number of campuses that understand the value in giving students the increased opportunity to connect and learn from each other in safe, highly engaged channels.”

Some of the other universities already using Raftr include Baylor University, New Mexico State University, Tufts University, Saint Louis University – Madrid and, most recently, Oklahoma State University.

Focused on their key mission to reimagine campus communities so every member can connect and thrive, Raftr will continue to develop additional insight reporting for university administrators to understand their student body’s needs and develop even more integrations with universities’ core platforms to further ease onboarding and launch.

“Given all of the research about the importance of student-faculty interaction as a key driver of student success and confidence, and the impact that positive peer engagement has on students’ mental health, I’m thrilled that more universities are learning about us and seeing the value in this platform,” said Sue Decker, CEO and founder of Raftr. “As students return to campus,  I’m pleased that  so many campuses are working with Raftr to help students create a sense of belonging and inclusion.”

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About Raftr

Founded in 2018, by a team of higher education and technology veterans, Raftr is a community-first engagement platform for colleges and universities to offer student-centered networks spanning the entire college lifecycle. The flexible digital platform reimagines campus communities so every member can connect and thrive. The high-growth startup is currently serving campuses across the United States and in six countries. For more information, please visit: or follow us on Twitter at @RaftrGetCurrent or on LinkedIn.