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Colby-Sawyer's Retention Rate Increases for Fifth Consecutive Year, Outpaces National Average

For the fifth consecutive year, Colby-Sawyer College's retention rate has increased. The 2014 retention rate was 75.4 percent, a 1.8 percent jump from last year. Official retention rates measure the percentage of first year, first-time students who start in the fall of one academic year and return the following fall.

The 2013 average retention rate for all reporting private colleges nationwide rated as traditional enrollment offering bachelor's degrees, such as Colby-Sawyer, was 62.7 percent.

Director of Student Success and Retention Kim Sauerwein considers Colby-Sawyer's progress a sign of both institutional and student successes. “Retention work is infused throughout the college – from every in-class experience and advising interaction, to student activities, tutoring, and business processes,” she says. “The Office of Student Success and Retention [has been collaborating] with faculty and staff across divisions and departments to support our students' success and increase our college's retention.”

Sauerwein credits campus-wide efforts and faculty/staff collaborations as well as monitoring retention trends, communicating retention-related information, and programming support for student success and retention initiatives for this achievement. “The Third Week Early Alert System, for example, helps identify at-risk students early in the semester, enabling quicker and more effective intervention,” she says. “The recent curricular conversion to a 4-credit course model, increasing availability of student employment, support for first-generation college students, a direct-admit policy for the nursing program and housing undecided majors in the Multidisciplinary Studies Department are some of our many initiatives facilitated [in coordination with] various departments on campus that have intensified support to student persistence, success and retention.”

Sauerwein identifies specific goals for student success and retention of the 2014-15 academic year. “The Office of Student Success and Retention aims to raise the retention rate to 77 percent for next fall,” she says. “This will be aided by our goals to increase access and systematic use of retention data, increase retention committee interaction and communication through the Enrollment Management Council, and strengthen programs for First Generation College students, including the Charger Peer Mentor program.”

“As we continue our mission to support student success at Colby-Sawyer, we will not only see a sustainable increase in retention, but we will also experience higher graduation rates and, of course, successful and inspired graduates,” she says.

- Anurup Upadhyay '15

Anurup Upadhyay is a business major at Colby-Sawyer College and a student writer for College Communications.

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Learn more about the college's vibrant teaching and learning community at

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000