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James Tinney

Jane Jankowski

Last modified: Thursday, October 3, 2002

IU shows improvement in student retention

The rate at which full-time beginning Indiana University students return for their second year of schooling is continuing to climb university-wide, according to figures compiled by the University Budget Office.

Statistics for full-time beginning students in 2001 show that 77.7 percent of them returned to IU in the fall of 2002. Comparable figures for the incoming 1999 and 2000 classes were 74.8 percent and 75.5 percent, respectively. Persistence from the first to the second year is considered to be a key predictor of graduation rates.

"The progress reflected in these numbers is but one indication that the university is on the right track to improving degree attainment on all of our campuses," said Charlie Nelms, IU's vice president for student development and diversity.

Nelms said he was particularly encouraged by the improved retention rates at IU Northwest and IUPUI. He said increased student retention around the university was an important factor in IU's record enrollment this fall.

University officials have used an $8 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, originally awarded in 1997, to help fund IU's ongoing retention efforts. The grant program is designed to increase the numbers of Indiana residents who hold college degrees.

Seven IU campuses showed improved retention rates over last year's figures. IUPUI and IU Northwest have both recorded two consecutive years of significant gains -- IUPUI moving from 58.2 percent to 61.6 percent to 64.8 percent and IU Northwest going from 57.6 percent to 59.7 percent to 66.3 percent.

This year, IU Kokomo and IU Southeast both sharply increased their retention rates. IUK's rate went from 52.9 percent for the 2000 incoming class to 66.0 percent for the 2001 class; IUS moved from 63.8 percent to 70.9 percent. At IU East, the improvement was from 55.8 percent to 58.1 percent, and at IU South Bend it was from 64.4 percent to 66.4 percent.

The retention rate for IU Bloomington increased from 86.3 percent to 87 percent.

The complete report and retention reports from previous years are available online at by clicking on Retention.