You are hereCU works to decrease drop out rates
CU works to decrease drop out rates
Freshmen enrollment at the University of Colorado has reached record-breaking levels. Yet if CU maintains its current graduation rates, only 41 percent of these freshmen will graduate by their fourth year. According to the Office of Planning, Budget and Analysis, only around 65 percent of students enrolled in CU graduate at all. This means one in three CU students does not leave the university with a diploma.
Although these retention rates may seem alarming, they are actually average for public universities in the United States. But CU has a long way to go to compete with universities such as the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Michigan, both of which have retention rates of 88 percent.
Students leave the university for many reasons. Among the most common are high tuition costs, academic failure, and personal issues. Gardiner Tucker, the Assistant Dean of Student Success and Retention, points out that there is a high drop out rate among students who do not get involved in campus activities, such as clubs, on-campus jobs, and academic groups. Tucker said, "Involvement leads to retention. I think we can do more to get that message out."
The most likely students to drop out are under-represented students, such as students of color, those with disabilities, first generational students, and low-income students. The Student Outreach Retention Center for Equity (SORCE) provides academic resources and counseling for these students in the hopes of increasing retention among these students.
SORCE student staff member Shermisia Chambers is a first generational student paying her own tuition. As events coordinator for SORCE, Shermisia believes it is important to get other underrepresented students involved. Shermisia said, "I'll do a lot of events that keep students entertained and educate them about what is happening on campus and what resources they have. If you don't know about your resources it is harder to stay here," said Shermisia.
Retention programs like SORCE have made slow progress at CU. The university has seen its retention rates increase 1 percent in the last decade. Yet Tucker remains optimistic about the effect of on campus involvement on retention. Tucker said, "The more that we can become a full community for students, the more students are likely to stay." Tucker hopes that building a strong connection between CU and students will get more students to cross the finish line at graduation, instead of leaving the party early.