Average Retention Rate At U.S. Colleges

What Is The Average Retention Rate?

The retention rate is the percentage of first-time students who attend and continue their study in next year at colleges. The low retention rate means that more students transfer out to or stop/pause the program at a school. In general, high ranked colleges or special purpose colleges' retention rate is higher than others.
The average retention rate of U.S. colleges is 70.76% for full-time students and 54.63% for part-time students. 1,576,603 out of 2,086,999 full-time first-year students continued their study in next year at U.S. colleges. In public colleges, the retention rate is 67% and private schools' rate is 74% By school levels, the retention rate at four-years colleges is 72% and community colleges' rate is 64%.
The next schools are the top 5 U.S. colleges that have the highest retention rate. MiraCosta College has the highest retention rate of 100% among U.S. colleges. National University and Red Rocks Community College also have higher rate of 100% and 100% respectively. For the ranking, we exclude community colleges and four-colleges with less than 1,000 first-time students.
The following table summarizes the average retention rate in United States.
The Average Retention Rate
TotalPublicPrivate (not-for-profit)Private (for-profit)
4 years or high72.47%72.67%73.83%62.44%
2-4 years63.78%61.00%68.26%67.29%
less than 1 year75.28%76.27%78.30%75.00%
The following table summarizes the retention rate and number of students by attending status for U.S. collegesNumbers in parentheses in each column indicate the number of students in the corresponding category.
Retention Rate by Attending Status at U.S. colleges
Retention RateFirst-time StudentsEnrolled in Next Year