‘U.S. News’ Recognizes IU Northwest for Having the Highest Average Freshman Retention Rate of Any Public University in Northwest Indiana

By: Indiana University Northwest Last Updated: August 19, 2010

Report published by U.S. News & World Report shows retention rate at 65 percent iunlogo

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Indiana University Northwest at the top in terms of average freshman retention rates among public regional universities in Northwest Indiana, according to the magazine’s latest annual ranking featuring America’s best colleges.

IU Northwest’s average freshman retention rate was listed by U.S. News at 65 percent. This also was the highest among the IU regional campuses. Statewide, IU Northwest had the second-highest retention rate of any public regional university.

The retention rates featured by U.S. News are the average proportion of freshmen entering a university starting in fall 2005 through fall 2008, who returned to school the following fall.

IU Northwest has made first-year student retention a cornerstone of our efforts to increase the number of our students who persist to graduation,” said IU Northwest Chancellor William J. Lowe. “We are proud of the success that is reflected by our current rate of retention, and I congratulate our colleagues in Academic Affairs and Student Services for the fine work that they are doing to enable our first-year students to be successful."

Our plans and efforts are aimed at continuing to improve our first-year-student retention rate, as more students take advantage of the academic support structure and services that are available to them here at IU Northwest,” the Chancellor continued. “As first-year retention increases, we are confident that our students’ rate of degree completion will also rise significantly.”

David Malik, Ph.D., Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, explained that close to half of the students who enter IU Northwest as first-year students, but who do not ultimately graduate, depart the university during or after their first year. To address this issue, he said, IU Northwest seeks to develop methods that will help those students succeed socially and academically.

Specifically, Malik referred to the university’s New Student Success Program (NSSP) as an example of how IU Northwest is providing students with such support. Established in 2009, the NSSP places participating students in a cohort of their freshman peers, and those students take many of their required freshman courses together. The NSSP also provides those students with peer and faculty mentors who form a reliable social network that helps students navigate the many challenges that arise during freshman year.

The NSSP prepares these students for academic success in their first year, and in subsequent years, by helping them to develop good work habits, effective study skills, and, perhaps most importantly, a positive outlook about their future in and beyond higher education,” Malik said. “We are showing students that they can succeed, and that they want to succeed, in college. Once they have established that outlook, they are far more likely to persist to year two and to graduation.”

Malik also acknowledged the IU Northwest-Ivy Tech chapter of the Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB) as another program that’s aimed at helping students develop the academic and life skills necessary to succeed in college and persist to graduation. This summer, SAAB held its Summer Bridge Academy, which brought incoming freshman and transfer students from the two schools to campus for two weeks of classes and programs designed to help them prepare for their first year of college.

As these and other programs move forward, we expect to see the results reflected not only in our retention and graduation data, but also in students’ self-confidence and enthusiasm for their college experience,” Malik said. “When students are very successful, they are able to enjoy more fully the challenges and rewards of higher education.”

In other noted U.S. News categories, IU Northwest was listed as the most economically diverse of Northwest Indiana’s local campuses and the sixth most economically diverse among all regional universities in the Midwest. The university tied for second locally in campus racial diversity.

IU Northwest is anticipating record enrollment for the upcoming fall semester. To date, student registration is up 11 percent over this time last year, and the number of registered credit hours is up 12 percent.

For more information about admission to IU Northwest, visit the Web at www.iun.edu/~admit/apps/.

And, for additional information on “America’s Best Colleges” featured in U.S. News & World Report, visit www.usnews.com.