The retention rate of the first-year students here at the Mount is something always on everyone’s mind, and yet it is something that never really gets brought up. Unfortunately, according to Provost Boyd Creasman, first-year student retention has been lower than the expectation over the past few years, especially in fall 2021. “Traditionally it’s been in the mid 70’s, 70 percent to 75 percent. But in fall 2021, it only retained at 68 percent. I think we can attribute that to a number of factors”, Creasman says.
As for those factors, Creasman, and many others, believe the cause of a lower percentage of retention to be the Covid pandemic. “I think we saw some of the effects of the learning walls due to the pandemic."
But things have been looking better as of recently. Creasman states “This past year, the fall 2022 cohort, retained at 71 percent. 75 percent is our usual number.” Even if that is only by three percent, that is a gradual increase that shows good signs for future Mount first-year classes. As for the fall 2023 retention percentage, Creasman states “it's tough to say until we get to the end of the fall semester. What we are looking for is 90 percent for the spring semester.”
Creasman is hopeful for the fall 2023 retention rate, stating, “There is one encouraging stat. When we looked at student’s midterm deficiencies, it was slightly down from the previous year in terms of students who scored Fs on their midterms. That’s a hopeful sign. But finances are still challenging for many students. However, I think this year’s students are performing slightly better academically compared to the last two years based on midterm grades.”
Creasman has a specific thing that he wants students to know, and he states that, “What I want students to know is that we have a very large team that works on retention, and one of the things we always say is that if that Mount accepts a student, we have a moral obligation to help them to succeed. We are really working hard with students on a one-to-one basis to try and help them succeed. I think the Mount really cares about student success.”
First year student retention has unfortunately been a lot lower than what was wanted or expected over the past few years, but this year’s student retention rate seems to be looking better than those previous few years, with that being the Class of 2027. All in all, things are looking hopeful for this year, as well as the coming years in terms of student retention and hopefully Creasman is right when it comes to his predictions.