Retention rate remains up to university standards

The mid-year retention rate indicates that a little more than 96 percent of this year’s freshman class returned for their second semester.

“These numbers correspond with a very objective picture and result of the education and environment that we provide for our students,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Alan Galsky.

The mid-year retention rate has decreased from last year’s rate of 97 percent, one of the highest rates Bradley has seen since the university began collecting data in 2001.

“Last year, 24 students [did not register second semester],” Galsky said. “Some were for economic reasons, some just didn’t fit here, some were too far from home and for some, if they did not do well academically, for economic reasons their parents said they had to transfer to a community college . . . Many conflicts are because of economic reasons, especially with the challenging economy.”

Although this year’s retention rate did not match last year’s, Galsky said he is not concerned.

“There are few universities that keep track of this number,” he said. “We are always concerned and curious about our retention rate. We like to think anything above 95 percent is good. If we should ever fall below that we’d be concerned.”

Freshman elementary education major Nimira Hussain said she thinks there are several reasons why students didn’t come back second semester.

“I know there were students who had financial issues and some had a problem with how small Bradley is,” she said. “But [96 percent] is really high and we had a lot of students transfer in to Bradley.”

The average mid-year retention rate from 2001 to 2011 is a little more than 96 percent. Galsky said he would like to see that number increase.

“Personally I would like to see it at 97 percent and above,” he said. “In terms of looking at the past 10 years of data and I see that number [97 percent] as the next stepping stone we would like to meet. It would be unrealistic to think we’d get 100 percent but it’s more realistic to look for 97 percent since that has happened in the past and we’d certainly like to see that happen again.”

In addition to Bradley’s education and environment, there are a lot of factors that have contributed to the high mid-year retention rate, said Galsky.

“There are a lot of indirect changes that have been made since 2001,” he said. “There are new facilities on campus, including the Renaissance Coliseum and we have also enhanced our tutoring program. Those are all things that contribute to our high retention rate, like pieces of a puzzle.”

Emily Goldberg, a freshman international studies major, said she thinks providing students with more financial assistance will help support the retention rate.

“I think there should be more scholarship opportunities,” she said. “There are a lot but they should be made more accessible. Like essay scholarships so a broader range of students can qualify.”

Hussain also said she thinks more financial help would allow more students to stay enrolled.

“I think there should be more on campus jobs that are available to all students, not just those who qualify for work-study,” she said.