National Student Clearinghouse Releases Annual Persistence and Retention Report

The overall persistence rate declined slightly for fall 2015 entering college students, according to the annual Persistence and Retention Snapshot Report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC).

According to the report, of all students who started college full-time in fall 2015 in any public, private or for-profit institution, only 61 percent returned to the same institution in fall 2016. Meanwhile, 12.3 percent transferred to another U.S. institution, for a total student persistence rate of 73.4 percent. The overall persistence rate for the fall 2015 cohort dropped slightly from the previous cohort (-0.2 percentage points) but was still up 1.9 percentage points from the fall 2009 cohort.

NSCRC's report details wide gaps in first-year persistence and retention rates. The persistence rate is the percentage of students who return to college at any institution for their second fall term, while the retention rate is the percentage of students who return to the same institution. This year's report includes race and ethnicity data for the first time.

Asian and white students who entered college in fall 2015 persisted into the second fall term of college at the highest rates (84.2 percent and 79.2 percent, respectively). Hispanic and black students continued college at lower rates (72.5 percent and 66.9 percent, respectively).  There is a gap of 17.3 percentage points between the groups persisting at the highest and lowest rates.


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National Student Clearinghouse Research Center