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OU sees a small decrease in overall retention rates in a year

Ohio University has seen a slight decrease in retention rates for first-year students but an increase in the retention of international students.

The university has had a small decrease in retention of first-year and underrepresented students and an increase in retention of international students. As a whole, the university has seen a slight decrease in retention also, according to data from OU’s Office of Institutional Research.

The multicultural retention rate at OU — which includes black, Hispanic, Asian and other minorities, as well as those with multiple races — decreased from approximately 81 percent in 2015 to 78 percent in 2016.

When it comes to representing those students, the Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention, or OMSAR, works with approximately 1,500 multicultural and Appalachian students, Marlene De La Cruz-Guzmán, director of OMSAR, said. Those students receive scholarships through the office as part of their financial aid package.

“The office provides academic support and enrichment to Templeton, Rankin, Urban, Appalachian, Ohio Reach, and Promise scholarship recipients throughout their undergraduate careers,” De La Cruz-Guzmán said said in an email.

OMSAR also works with the Academic Achievement Center, De La Cruz-Guzmán said.

“For each course an OMSAR scholar takes, OMSAR pays for two hours of tutoring per week, thereby providing the academic support scaffolding needed for students to succeed,” De La Cruz-Guzmán said in an email. “OMSAR also supports scholars in year 2-4 through continued advising, tutoring, and enrichment opportunities.”

The first-year retention rates of students at OU's Athens campus, which includes incoming freshmen who returned in Fall Semester 2017, has slightly decreased, according to Institutional Research. 

In 2015, approximately 82 percent of students returned to campus; in 2016, approximately 80 percent returned.

“First-year students are provided with one-on-one academic support advising by the staff and paired with peer mentors ... to help them with the transition to college life, both academically and socially,” De La Cruz-Guzmán said in an email. 

International students have seen a large increase in retention rates compared to last academic year.

In 2015, the retention rates of international students was approximately 83 percent, but this year, that rate is about 89 percent. 

Overall, the university has seen a slight decrease in retention, according to Institutional Research. In 2015, the rate was approximately 82 percent; this year, it is 80 percent.

While OU offers support programs, more support is “in the works,” said Jason Pina, interim chief diversity officer and vice president for student affairs. 

“Part of my interim role as Chief Diversity Officer is to identify emerging and best practices, study our campus landscape and assess standard practices among our IUC colleagues,” Pina said in an email. “This information will help senior leadership determine the most appropriate configuration for the incoming Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion as well as prioritize the skill sets needed to support our diverse community.”


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