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Bradley retention rates for 09 see normal, slight decline

Bradley’s mid-year retention rates for 2009 have slightly declined compared to past years.
The freshmen and sophomore retention rate for 2007 was 88.1 percent, down .8 percent from last year’s 88.9 percent. And the freshmen mid-year retention rate for 2008 is 96.5 percent, down .7 percent from last year.
Vice President for Student Affairs Alan Galsky said the numbers typically tend to stay around the same area.
“For the past eight or nine years they’ve stayed within these numbers,” he said. “It’s a mark of the quality and standards we offer, and it gives us an idea of whether we’re providing the services necessary for students.”
Galsky said the numbers released in February look at mid-year retention rates for the last five years.
“The rates give us a measure of how the economy is affecting retention, but the fall outcome will be a greater indicator,” he said.
The economy has not played a huge factor in retention this year, Galsky said.
“Hopefully our educational value and experience is strong enough that the economy will not affect us,” he said. “The numbers indicate there will be no effect, but the economy is suffering and we will do everything we can to work with families and continue to provide a quality education.”
He also said he doesn’t think the economy has played a strong role because of the time, effort and thought put into providing a quality experience for students.
“We have specific programs and activities that help retain students, and it’s a commitment by people of our faculty, staff and students,” he said. “Retention is everybody’s responsibility.”
Sophomore entrepreneurship and finance major Luke Lancaster said he didn’t think the economy would affect the mid-year retention rates greatly.
“I think by mid-semester students are just getting settled in and are getting used to Bradley,” he said. “If people are going to transfer, they’re more likely to do so after a full year, instead of halfway. But most students tend to have found activities to join and friends they don’t want to leave by now.”
Lancaster also said to prepare for the economy, he thinks Bradley needs to be able to adapt.
“In order to retain current students and attract new ones in today’s economy, Bradley needs to look into additional financial aid packages and reduced tuition,” he said. “Otherwise the numbers are just going to get lower and lower.”
Galsky said Bradley’s rates are higher than other private universities.
“We average 6 percent higher than our peers,” he said. “This is a good indicator of the perceived quality of educational experience parents look at for their son or daughter.”
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