UCCS looks to further improve rate of retention; increase diversity

November 08, 2016

Dillon Taunton

[email protected]

     Having admitted the largest number of freshmen and transfer students than ever before, UCCS saw a 6.2 percent increase in students this semester, which is an upward trend in the rate of retention.

     According to the Office of Institutional Research, UCCS admitted 10,266 freshmen and 2,689 transfer students for the fall 2016 semester.

     Of the 10,266 freshmen admitted for the ’16-’17 school year, 20 percent (2,056 freshmen) enrolled in classes. Transfer students enrolled at a higher rate of 41 percent (1,108 transfer students) of the 2,689 accepted applicants.

     Not all admitted students enroll in classes, said Sentwali Bakari, vice chancellor for Student Success and Enrollment Management.

     “In terms of acceptance rates from applications, we accept 73 percent of students. Of this 73 percent, we admit and enroll around 23 percent,” said Bakari.

     In addition to higher enrollment, UCCS is seeing an increase in student retention, he said.

     “We measure our retention rate by analyzing first-tosecond-year student retention. That rate has increased from 67.4 percent to 68 percent retention, so not a big jump, but we’d rather see a slight increase as opposed to any downward retention,” said Bakari.

     UCCS’ goal is to improve retention, which has proven difficult, as there are no consistent factors causing students to leave, said Bakari.

     “Retention is in many ways a moving target. There are so many factors that can cause a student to leave a university, whether that is financial, a lack of connection; a student could leave because they didn’t get along with their roommate,” said Bakari.

     Despite the generally unpredictable nature of retention, Bakari said that the university does have programs established such as the Excel Centers and various clubs, proven to improve retention for students who use them.

     Due to the generally nontraditional nature of UCCS students, it is difficult for some students to be involved on campus, said Bakari.

     “We know we have a group of commuter students that cannot be involved in all the activities we offer. For that student community, we have to think of activities that can get these students involved,” he said.

     Bakari added that 75 percent of UCCS students are employed, which also affects student involvement on campus.

     The diversity of students attending UCCS can make retention difficult to address, as it is difficult to satisfy every student’s needs, but according to Bakari, it is not impossible.

     “I think this is a good challenge to have. I believe we will find a way to accommodate students because our mission speaks to being affordable, accessible and accommodating to all students,” he said.

     UCCS has also hoped to increase the diversity of the student body. As of the ‘15- ‘16 academic year, minorities comprised 23 percent of the undergraduate student body, compared to 15 percent in the ‘05-‘06 academic year.

     Anthony Cordova, director of MOSAIC, said he and others work to increase diversity at UCCS.

     “I think the fact that we have had the MOASIC office for longer than 20 years that focuses on diversity speaks to UCCS’ appreciation of diversity,” said Cordova.