Student Retention and Completion Plan

Student Retention and Completion Plan 2017-2021

In support of the Grand Valley State University Strategic Plan 2016-2021

 

Purpose of the Plan

The Student Retention and Completion Plan 2017-2021 is a component of the overall GVSU Strategic Plan 2016-2021, with the intent of supporting specific outcomes, objectives and measures related to student retention and degree completion. The Strategic Planning Context section of the GVSU Strategic Plan 2016-2021 speaks to the importance of student retention and completion in our work:

Grand Valley's Strategic Plan 2016-2021 is focused on ensuring this institution is well prepared to provide all students with the resources and supports they require to accomplish their higher education goals in a timely manner, attain the key performance milestones needed for their future success, and secure the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to be lifelong learners and productive, contributing members of society. This plan is designed to promote every student’s persistence, educational attainment, academic achievement, personal advancement, and holistic development, including preparation for a productive, meaningful life beyond degree completion.

Retention and completion efforts are embedded within the institutional outcomes of the University, as stated in the Strategic Planning Context section of the GVSU Strategic Plan 2016-2021:

Grand Valley will pursue and attain many additional outcomes during this period in pursuit of its mission, including diversification and management of its enrollment; reduction of time to graduation; increase in graduation rates; management of costs enhanced affordability; and the launch of innovative, entrepreneurial initiatives. These outcomes are fundamental to the functioning of a modern university; they have long been integral to Grand Valley's identity and institutional prosperity and to the continued success of the undergraduate and graduate students it serves.

Furthermore, the generation of the Student Retention and Completion Plan 2017-2021 is a direct result of one Objective of the GVSU Strategic Plan 2016-2021 that supports the institutional outcome ‘Grand Valley’s learning environment is personal, challenging, and transformational, supporting excellent academic programs and co-curricular opportunities’:

Objective 1.A.3: A strategic plan will be developed for student retention, persistence and completion including goals that are ambitious but attainable and appropriate to GVSU’s mission, student populations, and educational offerings.

A second Objective in the GVSU Strategic Plan 2016-2021 is relevant to the content of the Student Retention and Completion Strategic Plan 2017-2021 that supports the institutional outcome ‘Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive’:

Objective 1.B.2: Retention rates between freshman and sophomore years and sophomore and junior years for first-generation and other non-traditional undergraduate students meet or exceed the retention rates of traditional undergraduate students.

Many of the Objectives in the GVSU Strategic Plan 2016-2021 support achievement of the outcomes outlined in the Student Retention and Completion Plan 2017-2021.

 

Definitions

For the purposes of this plan, we define retention and completion as follows:

Retention: The percentage of fall degree-seeking student who are enrolled at GVSU for the following fall census.

Completion: The percentage of students who entered GVSU as degree-seeking students and earned a GVSU bachelor’s degree within the ‘X’th calendar year after entry

 

Retention and Completion Plans

Student retention and completion outcomes are provided separately for undergraduate and graduate education at GVSU to account for the unique differences between program types, curricular content, pedagogical approaches, and student demographics/characteristics.

Tactics for achieving the plans, including action steps, timelines, responsible person(s), baselines and resource needs, are developed and maintained by divisions, colleges and departments. Progress updates are provided to the Enrollment Development Planning and Assessment Committee (EDPAC) annually for review and action, resulting in an annual institution-level summary progress report.

 

      A. Undergraduate Education

Outcome 1.A: Total annual undergraduate student credit hours will increase by 1% per year.

This will be accomplished through a combination of retention improvements and strategic recruiting programs.

Objective 1.A.1: First-year retention will be 89% (FTIAC Cohort).

        Baseline: 84.0% (2015 cohort)
       

Objective 1.A.2: First-year transfer student retention will be 82%.

        Baseline: 77.1% (2015 cohort)
       

Objective 1.A.3: Second-year retention will be 96% (FTIAC Cohort).

        Baseline: 91.7% (2014 cohort)
       

Objective 1.A.4: Retention rates between freshman and sophomore years and sophomore and junior years for first-generation and other traditionally underserved undergraduate students meet or exceed the retention rates of other undergraduate students. (aligned with University Objective 1.B.2)

Baseline: 1-year retention (2015 cohort) - First Generation: 80.8%; Not First Generation: 85.9% White: 84.7%; Students of Color: 80.7%
 

2nd-year retention (2014 cohort) - First Generation: 89.4%; Not First Generation: 93.0%; White: 92.4%; Students of Color: 88.4%
 

Objective 1.A.5: The size and academic qualifications of entering FTIAC cohorts remains nominally at 4,200 per year [GPA interquartile range (IQR): 3.3-3.8; ACT/SAT IQR: 1060-1250].

        Baseline: 4,380 entering FTIACs with GPA IQR 3.3-3.8, ACT/SAT IQR 1080-1240* (2016)
       

        *2016 IQR determined by converted ACT Composite Scores.  Subsequent measures are SAT Total Scores (post-2016 scale).

Objective 1.A.6: The size and academic qualifications of entering undergraduate transfer cohorts remains at 2,100 per year (fall and winter) [GPA IQR: 2.9-3.5].

        Baseline: 2,118 entering transfer students with GPA IQR 2.9-3.5 (2016-17)
       

Outcome 2.A: The 6-year completion rate will be at least 77% for the 2020 entering cohort.

Note: This outcome is for the 2020 entering cohort, and therefore achievement cannot be determined until 2026. The purpose of using a 2020 entering cohort is that retention efforts enacted in the next five years of this plan will only be fully realized at the end of the 6-year timeframe post-entry to the University for each cohort. Therefore the targets indicated for the Objectives in this section of the plan are ‘intermediary’ values that are steps in the process towards the overall target set for the 2020 entering cohort.

Objective 2.A.1: The completion rate for undergraduate transfer students who earned a degree within 4 years will be 60%.

        Baseline: 54.8% (2012 cohort)
       

Objective 2.A.2: The completion rate of 4th-year students who earned a degree in that year will be 52% (FTIAC Cohort).

        Baseline: 50.0% (2012 cohort)
       

Objective 2.A.3: The completion rate of 5th-year students who earned a degree in that year will be 78% (FTIAC Cohort).

        Baseline: 72.7% (2011 cohort)
       

Objective 2.A.4: The completion rate of 6th-year students who earned a degree in that year will be 75% (FTIAC Cohort).

                Baseline: 70.5% (2010 cohort)
               

      B. Graduate Education

Outcome 1.B: Total annual graduate student credit hours will increase by 1% per year.

This will be accomplished through a combination of retention improvements and strategic recruiting programs.

Objective 1.B.1: The 3-year retention rate for all graduate programs will be 76.0%.

        Baseline: 67.2% (2013-14 cohort)
       

Objective 1.B.2: The 6-year retention rate for all graduate programs will be 70.0%.

        Baseline: 67.5% (2011-12 cohort)
       

Objective 1.B.3: The 3-year retention rate for all master’s programs will be 75.0%.

        Baseline: 66.0% (2013-14 cohort)
       

Objective 1.B.4: The 6-year retention rate for all master’s programs will be 69.0%.

                Baseline: 66.4% (2011-12 cohort)
               

Objective 1.B.5: Graduate student enrollment will be 3,500 for fall 2021.

                Baseline: 3,251 graduate students in 2016-17.
               

Outcome 2.B: The 3-year and 6-year graduation rates for graduate students will increase by 0.5% annually.

Objective 2.B.1: The 3-year completion rate for all graduate programs will be 64.0%.

Baseline: 55.4% (2013-14 cohort)
 

Objective 2.B.2: The 6-year completion rate for all graduate programs will be 68.0%.

Baseline: 63.4% (2011-12 cohort)
 

Objective 2.B.3: The 3-year completion rate for all master’s programs will be 64.0%.

Baseline: 55.0% (2013-14 cohort)
 

Objective 2.B.4: The 6-year completion rate for all master’s programs will be 66.5%.

Baseline: 62.1% (2011-12 cohort)
 

Notes:

  1. The category of all graduate programs includes masters, specialist, and doctoral degree programs.
  2. The category of master’s programs only includes master’s degree programs.
  3. 3-year retention and completion rates were selected because most full-time and cohort programs are expected to be completed by students within two and three years.
  4. 6-year retention and completion rates were selected because most part-time students are expected to complete the program requirements within six years.
  5. The Graduate School at GVSU has initiated a number of retention, completion, and recruitment tactics for all graduate programs.  Additionally, GVSU requires each graduate program to have retention, completion, and recruitment tactics that are specific to each program.  The Graduate School monitors implementation and evaluation of the tactics for each graduate program.  A listing of the specific program tactics are available on request.