2013 Student Retention and College Completion Practices Report

2013 Student Retention Practices ReportDownload this popular report (below) for effectiveness ratings on dozens of practices for undergraduate student retention and college completion, based on a national electronic poll of campus officials at four-year and two-year institutions, private and public, in the spring of 2013.

Ratings are included here for a wide range of common and less-widely-used strategies and tactics, including academic advising practices, academic support, early intervention systems, programs designed for specific student populations, and retention communications. Also included are ratings of internal operations and planning and leadership practices.

Among the findings:

  • Academic support programs, first-year student programs, honor programs, and mandatory advising emerged as the top-ranked, most effective strategies and tactics across higher education.
  • Tracking students’ persistence and progression patterns, term by term, ranked at or near the top for four-year private and public institutions in a new category in this year’s report: “Top 10 internal operations practices.”
  • Programming designed specifically for students of color was rated a top practice in 2013 for two-year public institutions.
  • Less than half of respondents across institution types reported having a current, written plan for student retention and college completion that they felt good about.
  • Improvements in graduation rates were reported by 49 percent of the poll’s respondents from four-year public institutions, 43 percent of the poll’s respondents from four-year-private institutions, and 41 percent of the poll’s respondents from two-year public institutions.

This report is part of Ruffalo Noel Levitz's Higher Education Benchmarks report series.

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