Spring freshman retention rate continues to climb as the latest university report shows more than 91 percent of freshmen returned to the university for the spring semester, according to 12th-day numbers released by the university Thursday.
Kevin Campbell, chief enrollment officer, said last year’s retention rate of 89.6 percent was one of the highest in the past decade.
“It’s encouraging to see the retention rate grow to 91.1 percent,” Campbell said. “We always want to see strong retention numbers because it means we are admitting the right students and they’re having a good experience at ACU.”
Spring transfer student numbers are down, 12 less than last year, but Campbell said these numbers typically vary year to year.
“Spring transfer numbers are usually pretty volatile,” he said. “You obviously don’t want the numbers to go down, but it’s a small margin so it’s not of great concern.”
Campbell said the report offered little unanticipated news.
“This is basically what we had planned on and expected to see,” he said. “Our admitted students have proven that ACU is a good fit and they’re excelling here.”
Overall retention from Fall 2011 to Spring 2012 went from 4,558 to 4,223, a rate of 92.7 percent.
Kelly Young, chief financial officer, said overall retention rates have slowly increased in recent years.
“The expected trend is between 91 and 93 percent,” Young said. “More recently we’ve seen the numbers in the high end of the range.”
Young said all of the numbers proved to stay right on average.
“When I break down the numbers, everything is par for the course,” Young said. “We started projecting these number about five or six days ago and they’re true to expectations.”
Young said the seven percent decrease was mainly due to students leaving the school for a number of different reasons.
“We projected a few hundred students to leave, whether it be academic, financial or personal reasons,” Young said. “We also have a small handful of incoming transfer students, as well as students graduating and beginning grad school. It all turned out to be about seven percent less than less semester.”
Young said the news, though typical, is promising.
“The good news is there are no surprises,” he said. “Now we’ll be watching sophomore retention rate next semester, which has been growing in the past few years.”
Young said a higher retention rate bodes well for the university’s future and its students.
“This is good news because it means we’re getting a class that is a good fit for ACU,” Young said. “A lot of this is attributed to the fact that incoming freshman classes are more academically qualified. The stronger you are academically, the more likely you are to make it in college, the more likely you are to stay.”