Retention Rate and Student Success

Student One Year Retention and Success AY2020

Student One Year Retention and Success AY2019

Student Success AY2018

Student Success AY2017

Annual Success Rates

Definition: Success is generally considered to be the student’s completion of their chosen academic plan.  However, due to a variety of circumstances, students may leave UAMS for a temporary period and come back later to complete their degree/certificate.  Therefore, for the purpose of calculating success rates, success is defined as a student either (a) completing the academic plan in which they are enrolled or (b) the student is still actively enrolled attempting to complete their academic plan.  Success rates are essentially the combination of both the retention and completions rates.  However, since these are annual calculations, it is possible for a student to be both retained and graduating in the same academic year.  To be prevent this, precautions are taken to ensure that students are not counted more than once.

Cohort: This is the same annual cohort as used in the annual retention and completion rates shown above.

Time Frame: This is the same annual time frames as used in the annual retention and completion rates shown above.

Comparison to IPEDS: IPEDS produces no similar success rates.

Calculation: To calculate success, the sum of the maximum of either the retained students or the graduating students become the numerator.  The maximum analysis is performed on an individual student basis, not the gross count or total, to ensure that a student cannot be counted more than once.  The number of students in the cohort continues to be the denominator.  Division produces the success rate.

Sum of Maximum of (Retained Student or Graduated Student) /Number of Cohort Students = Success Rate (as a percent)


Annual Retention Rate

Definition: Retention is defined as the percentage of students returning (out of a defined cohort group of students) to continue their education at UAMS from a specified time period to a specified time period.

Cohort: The cohort consists of all students that were admitted during a specified academic year, i.e., students having an “admit term” of any term during the academic year.  For example, a cohort for academic year 2018 (2017-2018) would consist of any and all students that had an admit term of 2179, 2183, 2185, or 2186.

Time Frame: Since the cohort considers any and all students that were admitted in a specified academic year, the time frame for retention will be whether or not the student was actually enrolled any time during the successive academic years – actually enrolled during any term during that academic year.  Therefore, retention is year-to-year and is calculated for each year producing 1-year retention rates, 2-year retention rates, 3-year retention rates, etc.

Comparison to IPEDS: This UAMS retention rate calculation does not compare with the IPEDS retention rate methodology.  (a) IPEDS uses a cohort of first-time entering bachelor-degree-seeking students only.  UAMS has no first-time entering college students and the bachelor-degree-seeking students make up a small minority of the student body.  (b) IPEDS uses a fall-only cohort and calculates fall-to-fall retention.  UAMS uses an annual cohort and calculates year-to-year retention, a much more comprehensive approach.  This comprehensive approach is more informative to academic officials.  (c) IPEDS does not utilize program or academic plan calculations but has a retention calculation of all bachelor-degree-seeking students.  The UAMS approach allows for calculations for all academic plans, including graduate and professional practice programs.

Calculation: The number of students in the cohort is the denominator whereas the number of students retained in a given academic year is the numerator.  Division creates the rate.

Number of Students Retained / Number of Students in Cohort = Retention Rate (as a percent)


Updated 1-4-2021