Indiana State University Newsroom

Graduation, retention rates show success of ISU’s enrollment strategy

August 25, 2020

ISU is three years early in achieving two student success goals set last year by the university.

The enrollment report released Tuesday showed a 69 percent one-year retention rate for last year’s freshmen to this year’s sophomores. That is seven points higher than two years ago and it eclipses the university’s goal of 68 percent.

ISU’s four-year graduation rate — which is confirmed at the same time as the enrollment report — is 33 percent. This exceeds the university’s goal of 32 percent by 2023.

“The numbers reflect an emphasis on admitting students who we believe from our research are better prepared for college,” ISU President Deborah J. Curtis said. “Our goal is so much more than just attracting students to ISU. It’s seeing our students walk across the stage at graduation.” 

Said Jason Trainer, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management: “A degree from Indiana State University impacts our students, families, and communities. It’s for this important reason that we strive to improve the rates in which students return and complete their education. The fact we were able to achieve these goals three years early, and against the headwinds of a pandemic, is a remarkable success story.” 

ISU officials have long anticipated that an increased focus on the four-year graduation rate would result in a decreased total headcount. But other factors, affecting all institutions, played into a 6 percent drop in total enrollment to 10,830 and a 6 percent drop in new freshman enrollment to 1,776.

COVID-19 had an impact that Trainer noted in ISU’s 57 percent increase in students deferring admission to a future start term. Like other institutions, particularly in the Midwestern states, ISU also faced a decrease in the number of Indiana high school graduates and travel challenges for international students.

Additionally, for the first time, the total enrollment figure does not include “dual credit students.” Those students work for college credit in high school.

Among the new freshmen, 80 percent are from Indiana. The new class has an average GPA of 3.26, up from 3.22 a year ago.

Ethnic minorities make up 33 percent of the freshman class. African Americans are 21 percent of the freshman class.

Media contacts:

Mark Alesia, Director of University Communication

(O) 812-237-3837

(C) 812-229-8020


Dianne Powell, Associate Director of University Communication

(O) 812-237-8764

(C) 812-878-2131