By Angelia McGowan
Five years of retention and enrollment numbers compiled by the Office of Institutional Research prove that the College is continuing to meet the needs of “the populations we have always historically served,” according to President Stephen Jordan. With the growth the College has experienced in recent years, he says, some may have questioned the College’s commitment to fulfilling that mission.
“There’s been lots of discussion, with the addition of our graduate degrees, about is Metro State somehow walking away from who they serve,” he said in a Dec. 1, 2010 presentation to the Board of Trustees.
Jordan said the following statistics “illustrate that we are indeed committed” to serving the same populations the College has in the past.
Comparing a base year of 2004-5, the year before Jordan became president, with data from 2009-10:
- The retention rate for first time full time freshman has gone from 61 to 67 percent.
- The retention rate for full time transfers (60 percent of Metro State’s student body) has gone from 68 percent to 71 percent.
- The retention rate of continuing students has gone from 57 percent to 72 percent.
“Over time you get this multiplying effect,” he said, pointing in particular to the increased retention rate of continuing students. The increase “means we are building up, and very close, in a year or two from now, to seeing the graduation rate side of that now begin to pick up as well.”
“Now, in and of itself, that’s a very interesting story,” Jordan said, “but then … think about the populations that we serve.”
Here are enrollment statistics for that same period:
- The percentage of Metro State’s student population who are Pell-eligible has gone from 23 to 34 percent.
- The percentage of low-income, which includes Pell-eligible, but also the low- to middle-income student, has gone from 36 to 46 percent, almost one half of the student body.
- First-generation students have gone from 25 to 30 percent.
- Students of color have grown from 24 percent to 28 percent.
“Unless you understand each of the elements: retention rate for first-time freshmen, first-time transfers, and continuing students, and then these special categories of Pell-eligible and low-income, you don’t really get the picture of the commitment of this institution to the populations that we serve,” Jordan said.
“Anyone who would argue that this College has walked away from its mission would be hard-pressed to fight these statistics,” he concluded. “And it’s a real credit to the faculty and staff, who, under very difficult financial conditions, have managed to achieve those kinds of successes.Read a chart with the exact data here.
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