Retention and Graduation


First-Time Full-Time Degree-Seeking New Freshmen


  • Retention and graduation rates are reported as of the 11th class day of the term specified
  • Study includes all four-year, degree-seeking beginning freshmen.
  • Beginning in 1993, when a new student information system was implemented, only full-time, beginning freshmen are reported.
  • Prior to 1993, approximately 2-3% of the degree-seeking beginning freshmen in this report were part-time.
  • Retention, graduation, and attrition percentages for a specific class are cumulative over the six years.
  • Students reported as graduated at the "Beginning of Year Five - Fall" are the equivalent of students graduating within four years.

Data Problems

Fall 1991 cohort:

  • Coding errors related to the students' identification as a beginning freshmen resulted in the omission of students who attended UAF as beginning freshmen in the summer of 1991. Slightly over 100 students were probably missing.
  • All other years include the summer.

Because of this problem the six-year graduation rate is reported from the IPEDS Graduation Rate Survey. It is believed to be a more accurate representation of the percentage of 1991 beginning freshmen completing a degree.

Due to another error that affected both 1990 and 1991, the beginning freshmen cohorts are based on students enrolled at the end of the first fall semester rather than on the 11th day. Therefore, students who withdrew during the first semester are not part of the tracking study. As a result the retention rates in these years may be inflated by 1-2%.

First-Time Full-Time Degree-Seeking New Transfers

The Transfer Degree Seeking Students Retention Study is not comparable with the normal Retention Study because the transfer students may bring in a variable number of transfer hours from other institutions. So for example the 4th year graduation rate is not comparable between the two studies.

First-Time Part-Time Degree-Seeking New Freshmen

Frequently Asked Questions

What have the Admissions Standards been during the time of the tracking study?

Prior to 1985, the UofA had an open admissions policy. New admissions standards were phased in between 1985 and 1988. In 1985, a student needed a 2.50 high school GPA or higher or an ACT of 18 or higher to be unconditionally admitted. Ten high school units were required on the student's record to be considered course deficient. In 1986, the high school units were increased to 13; 4 in English, 3 in Sciences, 3 in Natural Sciences, and 3 in Mathematics. In 1988, students were given the option to substitute one year of foreign language for any high school unit except English.

Admission standards were again changed effective Fall 1993 when the high school GPA minimum was raised to 2.75 or higher and no minimum ACT was required. The number of high school units was increased to 16 by addition of 3 units of electives. Students with a 2.25-2.74 high school GPA on insufficient high school units were admitted with a transitional status.

What about students who don't plan to get a degree?

Only beginning freshmen who are coded in the student information system as degree-seeking are part of the study. This is a standard criterion in graduation studies that compare rates among different colleges.

Are part-time students included in the graduation rates?

Since 1993, only full-time students are included in the cohorts. The student's full-time and part-time enrollment status for purposes of this study is determined in their first semester only. Full-time is defined as enrolled for 12 hours or more on the 11th class day. Full-time, degree-seeking beginning freshmen are standard criteria in graduation studies that compare rates among different colleges.

Prior to 1993, the tracking study did include part-time, degree-seeking beginning freshmen. Based on available data, the best estimate is that 2% to 3% of the beginning freshmen class prior to 1993 was part-time.

Are transfer students included?

Students transferring into the University of Arkansas are not part of the beginning new freshmen tracking study.

What if a student transfers to another college or university?

A student who transfers to any other college and returns to the University of Arkansas will be included in the retention and graduation rates. If the student does not return here, he or she is counted as attrition. The standard criterion for determining graduation rates has been that the student graduated from the institution of initial enrollment. Statewide data are available that include the percentage of UofA students enrolled or graduated from other Arkansas colleges.