Student Persistence Rates Rise

Retention and Graduation Percentages Increase

Thursday, December 8, 2016

by Molly Harty

Saint Joseph’s University has recorded two of the highest persistence rates in its history, for first-year students returning for a second year and for the six-year graduation rate of undergraduate day students, based on available data.

The first-year-to-second-year student retention rate of 90.88%, recorded on October 5, 2016, represents a 2.54% increase from the previous year’s rate, according to the Office of Student Success & First Year Experience and the Office of Institutional Research.

“Many factors contributed to the increase, including funding for returning student scholarships, targeted outreach to first-generation and Pell-eligible students, and increased selectivity in admissions,” says Daniel McDevitt ’07, ’09 (MBA), director of Student Success & First Year Experience.

Notably, the University’s 10-year average retention rate of 88.64% is considerably higher than the 75.5% national average for private colleges.

“So many people contribute to the undergraduate experience, which makes students want to stay and earn their degrees from SJU,” says Kim Allen-Stuck, assistant vice president for Student Success and Educational Support. “There is something special on Hawk Hill.”

Saint Joseph’s recorded its highest six-year graduation rate of 79.6% for undergraduate day students in the Class of 2014, based on available data. Overall, SJU’s average six-year graduation rate of 77% is also higher than the national average — a full 18%. The average rate for other nonprofit institutions with a similar admit rate is 59.7%, as reported in the 2015 Digest of Education Statistics.

Graduation rates continue to trend upward. With the five-year graduation rate for the Class of 2015 currently at 80.9%, the University is on track to record a new all-time high six-year graduation rate next year. 

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