Freshman retention for fall to spring is up by 1.1 percent from last year.
Bart Herridge, dean of student engagement and retention, said this year’s spring retention is 90.4 percent, where as last year, it was 89.3 percent. Spring retention is usually between 89 and 90 percent.
“We’re kind of at the high end of what we traditionally experienced, so we feel really positive about that,” Herridge said.
Despite spring retention being so high, it is not always a good predictor of fall retention, which typically remains in the mid-70s. Herridge said this is a little bit lower than state schools and other campuses that the university is normally compared to.
The average freshman class is usually about 1,000, so 10 percent is about 100 students.
“We’re really starting to look at second to third year retention now,” Herridge said. “We actually had a really nice increase this year. We had an increase in our retention from fall to spring for the second-year group.”
Whether a student stays at the university can depend on fit, finances or both. Herridge said in the last several years the university has emphasized trying to find ways financially to help students who are doing well academically and who are really close to staying here.
One way the university helps students is through scholarship appeals. Herridge said any student struggling financially needs to be visiting with somebody in Wildcat Central.
“It’s a very difficult challenge because we’re also, as a university, trying to find ways to cut costs, and we’re trying to find better ways to fit within our budget,” Herridge said. “But on a targeted basis, I think we absolutely do have additional funds that have been made available to help specific students that could be successful here.”
Herridge said other things to help increase retention include centralized advising, changes in residence life and the SOAR program.
“It’s not just staying for your second year, it’s staying all the way through completion,” Herridge said.