For more than two years, the BUS Leadership Implementation Team has been focused on increasing undergraduate retention and graduation rates. The success of this work is reflected in the fall 2023 census data, showing improvements in multiple areas:
- Second-fall retention, which measures undergraduate students retained from their first fall semester to their second, hit 89.1% in 2023. The previous record was 87.8% set in 2021.
- Third-fall retention peaked at 81.7%. The previous record was 81.3% set by the fall 2017 and 2020 cohorts.
- The six-year graduation rate for the fall 2017 cohort is 74.9%, surpassing 74.7% achieved by the fall 2016 cohort.
At the same time, however, retention among first-generation and historically marginalized and underrepresented student populations does not uniformly show the same improvements.
First-generation students closed the retention rate gap by 5 percentage points between the fall 2021 and 2022 cohorts. While higher across a number of demographics—for example, Asian Americans are 1 percentage point and women are 0.4 percentage points higher than the university’s average second-fall retention rate of 89%—and among the highest for all Colorado institutions of higher education, retention for these groups continues to lag the overall rate of retention.
To continue this strong momentum in increasing retention rates and enhancing student success, and to step up efforts to close gaps in student success for first-generation and historically marginalized and underrepresented student populations, the BUS team is aligning its work this academic year with Provost Russell Moore’s priorities:
- Strategic enrollment management alignment
- First-year residential academic experiences
- Technology and communications projects
The BUS team is also focusing on these 12 projects, which are in various stages of activity and completion for fall 2023.