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Why North Central students keep coming back

Celebrating the strongest retention in 25 years

What is retention?

A well-known term for higher education, a “retention rate” can be defined as the number of first-time freshman students in an entering undergraduate class who return the following fall. It is also used to track persistence from one term to the next for any give class or group of students.

It measures both student and institutional success.

Factors that contribute to whether or not a student continues at a university include the following:

  • Incoming high school GPA
  • Family support
  • Socioeconomic background
  • Opportunities for involvement
  • Academic engagement
  • Sense of belonging
  • And more…

At North Central University, the Christ-centered community greatly helps students who may be struggling in any or all of these areas. This includes staff and faculty who mentor and support students throughout their journey.

Reaching retention records in 2017

North Central University is excited to celebrate the highest spring-to-fall retention rate of the total undergraduate population in 25 years. This rate of 84% indicates marked improvement for the university over our five-year average of 81% and 25-year average of 77%. It is also significantly higher than national averages.

The last reported persistence rate from the National Clearinghouse of all students who started college in the fall of 2015 (most recent report) that were retained at the same institution the following fall was 61.1%. For those at private colleges, the rate was 74.7%.

With a fall-to-fall rate of 80.4%, North Central is tracking about 6% above the national average!

President Scott Hagan noted the significance of the rate and is thankful for the hard work that contributed to North Central’s success, “These strong retention rates show the health of our university and are the direct result of the outstanding work our faculty and staff have been doing over the past two years.”

Why does retention matter?

For any university, retention is not just a number. It is a temperature check for the wellness of the university and an indicator of student success. It signals that students are committed to their education, and that they have been having an overall good experience at their university.

Presenting positive retention data indicates that a university is healthy, and that students are healthy. It shows that students want to and are able to come back, to continue experiencing the community, and to finish their degree.

Additionally, in today’s world of increasing costs and scrutiny for colleges and universities, empirical data is needed to understand student success. Retention, persistence, and graduate rates are key for this analysis.

Confidence for the future

The strong upward trend of retention for North Central also bodes well for the future. With undergraduate retention looking strong, graduation also has an optimistic outlook. The more students retain, the more students will graduate and succeed!

Hagan said, “We are thrilled with these student retention numbers. It reflects the momentum we all feel at NCU right now.”

Retention definition and data provided by Erin White, Dean of Student Advocacy