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Performance INformation Gateway
Performance INformation Gateway

STUDENT SUCCESS: Retention of Freshmen Enrolled Prior Year

Retention is a measure of the rate at which students persist in their educational program at an institution, expressed as a percentage. For four-year institutions, this is the percentage of first-time, full-time freshmen students from the previous fall who are again enrolled in the current fall.

Retention is important for several reasons. From a student’s perspective, withdrawal from all university work because of academic failure or inability to cope with the demands of the educational system can lower self-confidence and self-esteem. This can produce a negative lifelong economic impact. From the institution’s perspective, the failure to retain students is considered a waste of university resources, especially in an environment of limited financial and general resources. Attrition can also hurt the reputation of an institution, creating long-term implications for attracting new students.

Of course, some students do not return to a campus for their second or subsequent years because they have found a better institutional match for their educational goals. In such cases, students are counted as not retained by the institution where they started their university study career, but they may be continuing their studies and career preparation elsewhere. Nationally, approximately 60 percent of all college students receiving a degree began their college work at a different institution.

UNO’s retention rate has declined slightly since 2004 when the rate was 75 percent. In 2009 and 2010 the retention rate was 73 percent among UNO freshmen enrolling in the prior fall.

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Data: Retention of Freshmen Enrolled Prior Year: 2004-2010

Category 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
University of Nebraska at Omaha 76% 75% 71% 74% 69% 72% 73%
CUMU Average (10 Institutions) 67% 65% 67% 67% 69% 69% 70%
3-Campus NU Average 79% 81% 78% 79% 77% 80% 80%

Definitions and Sources

Definitions: Retention of Freshmen Enrolled Prior Year: A measure of the rate at which students persist in their educational program at an institution, expressed as a percentage. For four-year institutions, this it the percentage of first-time bachelors (or equivalent) degree-seeking undergraduates from the previous fall who are again enrolled in the current fall.

Sources: All data downloaded from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).