As the ninth top public school in the Midwest, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has drawn quite a bit of attention lately. According to the Policy Analysis & Planning fact book (a collection of retention rates here at UWSP), there has been an 8.9 percent increase in retention of first to second year students and a 1,000-student increase in enrollment from 1995 to 2009.
"The most recent retention rate as of Fall 2010 freshmen to Fall 2011 is 80.4 percent. The rates have steadily improved over the past several years. The most recent three-year average was 80.2 percent, increased from the 76.2 percent three-year average before," said Shari Ellertson, Director of Policy Analysis and Institutional Research.
This new level of retention rates has been the goal for the administration for 2015, and reaching one of its major goals has been a successful breakthrough. However, directing attention towards retention rates has not come without challenges.
"A major challenge for us has been our ability to free up resources to direct towards retention when we are faced with severe budget reductions from the state," said Greg Diemer,
Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs.
This will be the biggest challenge with retention rates in the coming years. Resources are currently being placed into the faculty and staff identifying and assisting "at risk" students. Cuts to the budget could mean a huge dent in the resources to help these students. At this point, the biggest issue will be sustaining the retention rates we have achieved so far.
As someone who assists leadership positions in allocating resources to high priority retention efforts, Greg Diemer says that he has "not been involved in discussions regarding any chances to our retentions rates, but I know everyone will apply due diligence to maintaining the higher rates we have attained."