Minority retention, graduation rates at Ohio State exceed national marks

News Release Date: 
11.15.11

First-year retention for African-American students reaches record high

According to recent data, first-year retention and graduation rates for African-American and Hispanic students attending The Ohio State University Columbus campus now exceed national averages for both public and private institutions. The data is based on the university’s official enrollment report for autumn quarter 2011 and signals continuing improvements since the move toward selective admissions in 2003.

The first-year retention rate for African-Americans rose three points last year to 91 percent, a record high. The national average is 85 percent for highly-selective schools as reported by the Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange. Similarly, the rate for Hispanic students returning for their second year of study improved one point to 93 percent, topping the national mark of 86 percent.

Dolan Evanovich, vice president for strategic enrollment planning, said the university’s progress is the result of a continuing team effort.

“The success that Ohio State is now experiencing is a direct result of the commitment of our faculty and staff to develop high standards of teaching and great programs for students that come to us with tremendous academic talents,” said Evanovich. “We’ve exceeded the national trends across the board, including improvements in graduation.”

The six-year graduation rate for African-American students increased four points to 73 percent, outpacing the national average of 62 percent for highly-selective schools. The graduation rate for Hispanic students improved by 11 points to 78 percent and exceeds the national average of 63 percent.

Valerie Lee, vice provost for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, credits the improvements to the collaborative efforts of academic colleges, administrative support units and departmental initiatives, including the work of Undergraduate Admissions and First Year Experience, Academic Advancement Services, and the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male, recently recognized by the Congressional Black Caucus for its leadership in the area of retention. 

Lee also noted the critical work of specific programs that help foster a welcoming campus climate such as the Office of Student Life Multicultural Center and the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center, in addition to many other programs that affirm Ohio State’s commitment to the success of all students.

“The many curricular and cultural programs that the university offers encourage broad-based student engagement with their fields of study, peers, and the campus community at large,” Lee said.  “Students succeed at Ohio State because they understand they belong here.”

Overall, students are staying and graduating from Ohio State, again in record numbers.
The first-year retention rate for all students is 93 percent, four years running. The national figure is 88 percent. The university’s six-year graduation rate is 80 percent, topping the national mark of 72 percent.

Enrollment also continues to be a positive indicator of continued success.
The 6,904-member freshman class, Ohio State’s best academically prepared, includes an 11.7 percent increase in minority student enrollment (1,213). A total of 42,916 undergraduate students are currently enrolled in autumn quarter classes.