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ERIC Number: ED493674
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
How to Define Retention: A New Look at an Old Problem
Hagedorn, Linda Serra
Transfer and Retention of Urban Community College Students (TRUCCS)
Perhaps the two most vexing measurement issues in higher education research are how to obtain true transfer rates from community colleges to four-year universities and the correct formula for the measure of college student retention, regardless of institutional type. All colleges and universities are required to submit retention figures to federal and state governments. This paper focuses on measuring college student retention and dropout, and associated problems, discusses the various types and methods used, and recommends policy to reach a national consensus. It is concluded that the importance of appropriate college retention measurement lies in three effects: (1) the College effect, in which retention is how students, parents, and stakeholders evaluate the effectiveness of colleges, and a positive reputation enhances a college's ability to attract the best students and faculty; (2) the Workforce effect, in which non-persisting students lack the college training and credentials to enter the professional workforce; and (3) the Economic effect, in which higher education attainment leads to decreases in long-term poverty, higher personal per capita income, a higher state tax base, and a stronger economy. This paper argues that current measures are insufficient and encourages higher education institutions to calculate and disseminate multiple measures of retention. [This paper is a product of the Transfer and Retention of Urban Community College Students Project (TRUCCS).]
Transfer and Retention of Urban Community College Students (TRUCCS). USC Rossier School of Education, Waite Phillips Hall Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90089-4035. Tel: 213-821-2464; Fax: 213-740-2028; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education, Indianapolis, IN.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A