Hillsdale College’s freshman retention rate for this year matched the previous highest rate from 2014.
This year’s retention rate is 96% for students who began in fall 2018 and returned this semester, according to George Allen, director of institutional research. It matches the figure of students who entered in fall 2014 and returned the next year, which was the highest percentage on record. Allen said the average for the past five classes of students is 94%, while the average for the last 10 is 93%.
“High retention and graduation rates are one indicator of a happy, successful, and well-supported student body,” Allen said. “Conversely, lots of students transferring out, dropping out, or being expelled might indicate a less successful and less satisfied student body.”
Allen said in an email that he runs a report and checks it against the records from the registrar’s office and Student Affairs. His calculation is based on the number of students who re-enroll for their second fall semester, so the report only tracks “non-transfer students who began full-time, in the fall.”
For schools in Hillsdale’s Carnegie Classification, Allen said public data as of fall 2017 show that these schools — other four-year, liberal arts institutions — have an average retention rate of 80%.
Dean of Women Diane Philipp noted in an email that strong retention rates are a result of team effort.
“It’s an all-campus effort coming from the work of our professors, maintenance, administration, security, business office, food service, student services, everyone who works here, and especially Dr. and Mrs. Arnn,” she said.
Philipp said good retention indicates that students are happy at Hillsdale, and she expressed her gratitude for everyone who plays a role in creating a good atmosphere for students.
Dean of Men Aaron Petersen said faculty and upperclassmen have a big part in making Hillsdale a great place for the incoming freshmen.
“The little things upperclassmen do to help encourage freshmen can really make a difference,” Petersen said. “It’s the same for the faculty. I’m grateful for the little things they do to reach out to freshmen.”