Why college retention and graduation rates matter

During your college search, you may ask why college retention and graduation rates matter. And, what is retention anyway? These two statistics can give you a general idea of how successful you could be at a certain college or university.

How are college retention and graduate rates figured?

Retention is typically measured as the number of first-year students who re-enroll as second-year students for at least one additional semester at the same institution. This is usually presented as a percentage. The national average for small, private institutions is 65 percent.

Graduation rates, on the other hand, are when students start and finish at the same institution. The national average for small, private institutions is 52.8 percent.

While 65 percent and 52.8 percent may seem low at first glance, institutions must count for students who leave for some reason other than not liking the college or university. Students may not finish their degree, some transfer and some may realize that a two-year degree or certification will allow them to have the job they want rather than completing a bachelor’s degree.

Where to find the retention and graduation rates?

The easiest way to find out the retention and graduation rates of the colleges and universities you are looking at is to search on their website. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, you can request more information from the university or contact a member of the admissions team.

When thinking about why college retention and graduation rates matter, consider this: the higher the retention rate, the more likely you may be to stay at that institution for more than one year. You are more likely to graduate from an institution if you stay longer than one year.

At Bluffton University…

At Bluffton University, retention is a main point of focus, and it shows. In 2020, Bluffton’s retention rate was 72 percent – 7 percent higher than average for small, private institutions. Bluffton’s graduation rate is also above the national average at 56 percent.

Learn more about Bluffton University

Retention rates
Graduation rates