The Retention Issue at Illinois College

Breahna Lesemann –

In the midst of tuition hikes and low enrollment, Illinois College might be facing another significant problem: retention.

As of late, student retention numbers at Illinois College don’t follow regular patterns and the college is trying to find these patterns of retention in order to prevent students from leaving the school. There are a number of factors in play, including how many years it takes to graduation, how many students drop out, and how many new students that transfer to IC that affect the retention point-system.

“This year it looks that the retention rate from first semester to second semester is going to be five points higher than last year,” says Dean of Faculty Adam Porter.

Though this year’s retention numbers aren’t lower than normal, the school is trying to find a pattern in an effort to bring up retention numbers.

The college is working very hard to increase retention rates by taking new precautions. One of the things the college asks the faculty to do is to report if a student doesn’t show up for class two days in a row. This can be an early indicator that the student is not going to be successful in a class.

Through reporting, the college can mentor these potentially at-risk individuals and see if the student in question is possibly sick, depressed, or gone home to take care of family. Through identifying the students problems, the college can adequately address them and get the students to graduation in the proper amount of time. This means that there is extra work for faculty members in that they have to pay attention to the student’s activity and report it.

The school has tried to be more systematic in finding students who are having trouble and giving them help. This is what the Center for Academic Excellence and TRiO are for. They are there to help students and that is going to help retention numbers.

Dean Porter stated, “I don’t think we should admit a student who we might think is going to have trouble with math and then not offer them any help.” The school provides the tools that can help students become successful, and if a student is successful, they will be more likely to stay and to graduate.

Students who don’t have college degrees may have more trouble paying off their loans. Some students come to school for one or two years and have to pay for those years without a degree to show for it. Nationally average of student debt is around $30,000. IC debts are said to be at that or below.

Many studies show that a college degree increases a person’s lifetime earning significantly. The amount of money earned with having a Bachelors degree has gone up compared to years in the past. A person with a college degree compared to a person with a high school degree will have significantly more money over their lifetime.

College is a valuable asset in preparing students to take jobs and become involved in society by being educated voters, critical thinkers, and leaders. Illinois College would like to see more students make it across the stage to get their degrees, not only so that IC will have more tuition-paying students, but also so that these students will go on to lead successful lives.

Breahna Lesemann, from Bath, Illinois, is a sophomore majoring in English Education with a minor in Theatre at Illinois College. Breahna is a writer for the The Rambler and a member of the IC concert choir.


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