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Duquesne Experiences a Record-Setting Freshman Retention Rate

A record high percentage of Duquesne University freshmen made the transition this fall to becoming members of the sophomore class.

This fall's sophomore class is large in absolute terms, composed of the 1,550 students that made up last year's freshman class-the largest group of incoming freshmen in University history-and a record 89.8 percent of them are continuing studies at Duquesne. The University's previous high for freshman-sophomore retention, a statistic widely considered a key indicator of student satisfaction, was in 2004, when 89.2 percent of freshmen chose to return as sophomores.

Duquesne's newly set record for freshman-to-sophomore retention is dramatically higher than the national average, whether that rate is aggregated for all four-year institutions of higher learning or calculated for private universities, said J.D. Douglas, director of retention and advising in the University's Enrollment Management Group. Additionally, Douglas said, the fall-to-spring semester retention rate in the 2013 academic year for this particular freshman class marked a new high of 97.1 percent.

Setting twin records for freshman retention indicates that Duquesne's early alert systems, created by a University-wide Retention Committee to detect and assist students encountering academic, financial or personal difficulties, are working well.

At private institutions like Duquesne, "Students and parents expect more-they expect value-and it is clear that we are delivering on our promise to provide it," said Paul-James Cukanna, associate provost for enrollment management.

"Retention success, a result of teamwork and commitment, indicates that Duquesne students, even as freshmen, form a strong bond, a clear sense of belonging," Cukanna added.

Additionally, retention rates throughout the cycle of matriculation are used as a benchmark for institutional credit ratings, rankings on academic-quality surveys, and recruiting and retaining faculty members and other key personnel.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.