Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn addresses the incoming Freshman Class of 2023. Mar­keting Department | Courtesy

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.”