Student retention rates at RWU on the rise

By Anya Dussault

Student retention rates at Roger Williams University seem to be on the rise, according to information provided by the Department of Institutional Research. According to the data, the numbers have fluctuated over the years, but comparing the most recent year’s data to that of base year 2008, there has been an increase in student retention.

Each year, students at colleges and universities across the country find themselves leaving the institution for a variety of reasons. Oftentimes, the reasons are significantly financial-based, and said student is unable to make the payments required by the institution. Sometimes, the move is due to a lack of connection to the campus community and, therefore, an inability to feel at home. There are also some students who choose to leave because they are seeking academic opportunities that simply are not offered by the particular institution. Regardless of the reasons as to why a student leaves an institution, there are people who make that choice every year.

According to, a website that tracks data for a multitude of universities across the country, the national average first year to second year retention rate is 71 percent, and the state average first year to second year retention rate is 86 percent. At 93 percent, RWU finds itself on the higher end of the scale in both of those categories.

In an effort to see how the university measures up, data was gathered for several schools that share similar demographics to RWU: Endicott College, Stonehill College, Salve Regina University, and Bryant University.

Additionally, between 2008 and 2011, the rates for graduation within four years and six year also rose. According to the Department of Institutional Research, the four-year graduation rate increased by 7 percent, while the six-year graduation rate increased by 3 percent.

Students who graduated a semester or a year prior to the four-year graduation rate are included in the graduation rates.

“Obviously it’s great that the graduation rates are rising,” said sophomore Elisa Santorno, adding that she feels that the rising rates speak to the fact that the university is making efforts to become a home for all students who join the campus community.

Sophomore Justin Lewis agreed with Santorno. “I know that there are tons of factors that play into the reasons why students leave [an institution], but it definitely looks better when the retention rates are high, or at least on the rise. After all, if lots of students are deciding to transfer from a school, then there must be something that the school in question could do better.”