Retention rates climb to new heights

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By Kristin Zagurski

According to statistics released by the Office of Institutional Research last week, the mid-year retention rate for first-time freshmen has climbed from last year’s 86.4 percent to 88.5 percent this year.

This number reflects the percentage of freshmen who started at UNO in the fall of 2001 who enrolled again this spring.

Vice Chancellor Derek Hodgson said the increase is due to a number of factors, but most importantly to the dedication of UNO’s students, faculty and staff.

“Our students are academically prepared when they get here,” he said, “And our faculty and staff are helping them succeed.”

University administrators have also played a role in the retention growth through the implementation of new programs, which Hodgson said have had “good impact.”

These include the first year connection and supplemental instruction programs.

UNO’s retention rate has risen more than 15 percent in five year’s time. Retention rates at UNO have been on the rise since 1998.

Hodgson said the jump in retention rates reflects the fact that students are being more successful and that the university is serving its students better.

“We are fulfilling our mission and responsibility,” he said.

Hodgson also said student quality has improved and along with that, the attention faculty and staff pay to students.

In addition to the rising first-time freshmen retention rate, the retention rate for transfer students has risen as well.

Retention rate for transfer students in 2002 is 76.4 percent, up 2.5 percent from 2001’s 73.9 percent.

Hodgson said exceptional institutions typically have high retention rates — something UNO has been working successfully toward.

“Retention is everybody’s business and is our number one priority,” Hodgson said.

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