New Records for Student Retention

Retention Rates

Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2024 @ 8:27 PM

UCF continues to set new records for student retention, including a new 98.3% return rate for first-year undergraduate students from Summer/Fall 2023 to Spring 2024.   

The number is especially remarkable considering UCF’s student cohorts are among the largest in the country, with only 109 out of 7,226 students choosing not to return for Spring.   

“This new record demonstrates that the university’s commitment to student success and well-being—our top priority in our strategic plan — is showing results,” says Paul Dosal, senior vice president for student success. “This high fall-to-spring-retention-rate is a credit to the faculty and staff who work tirelessly to ensure students thrive academically and socially at UCF.”   

The record retention rate reflects multiple initiatives put in place to help students overcome typical first-year obstacles. The methodology blends fostering a sense of belonging among new students, as well as a more intense focus on intentional, targeted outreach toward students facing barriers to continuing at UCF, explained Lucas Noboa, senior director for academic advocacy.   

“UCF’s size gives us an advantage because we can offer students multiple tools to push past any hindrances,” Noboa said. “What we’re focusing on now is increasing personal, relational assistance that offers a plan uniquely tailored to the students’ needs.”  

For instance, conversations with unregistered students pinpoint what’s keeping them from continuing, with some of the common culprits including outstanding balances, institutional policies and a lack of knowledge about available resources. That one-on-one interaction finds a solution and connects students with the university resources they need to succeed, Noboa said.  

While the data is still fresh for this FTIC class, predictive analytics are performing a similar function for students deeper in their UCF journey. Early outreach to students at risk of straying from an academic plan connects students with peer advocates, tutoring and other outlets for help before it becomes a problem.  

A newly launched cohort of Academic Advocates are tasked specifically with handling this type of grassroots outreach. Their caseload blends proactive intervention for students at risk of dropping out or failing, along with fielding tips submitted by academic success coaches (formerly called advisors), faculty and staff.  

Combined, these strategies will continue to carry this freshman class and all students at UCF toward improved graduation rates and greater success, Noboa said.  

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