Research Article Open Access

Measuring Predictors of Student Retention Rates

Allen L. Webster1 and Vince E. Showers1
  • 1 Bradley University, United States


Problem statement: Colleges and universities place more emphasis on student retention rates than ever before. Educational institutions are intensifying efforts to discourage student departure and preserve their established student base. Economic pressures that bear heavily on academic administration make such efforts highly critical for institutional success. Research on this vital issue is especially important due to the vigorous competition among college and universities to recruit students and maintain enrollment levels. This pressure is heightened by the fact that it costs more to attract students than it does to retain them. Approach: This study uses institutional-based data to examine student attrition levels with the intent to identify their chief determinants and provide the foundation for post-secondary institutions to explore the viability of their own retention programs. Discriminant analysis is used to distinguish those schools that exhibit a higher degree of success in retaining student enrollments from those who suffer higher departure trends. Results: Tuition, student/teacher ratio and the amount of dollar aid offered the students all play substantial roles in encouraging persistence. The acceptance rate and enrollment levels were found to provide less discriminatory power. Conclusion: Students are influenced by the personal attention they receive and the manner in which their chosen institution of higher education caters to their individual needs, problems and concerns. Colleges and universities concerned with student retention would benefit from concentrated programs designed to provide individualized student services that address immediate student needs.

American Journal of Economics and Business Administration
Volume 3 No. 2, 2011, 301-311


Submitted On: 22 December 2010 Published On: 7 April 2011

How to Cite: Webster, A. L. & Showers, V. E. (2011). Measuring Predictors of Student Retention Rates. American Journal of Economics and Business Administration, 3(2), 301-311.

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  • Student attrition
  • discriminant analysis
  • retention rates
  • enrollment levels