Rethinking Retention: Are You Looking at Distance From Campus?

With students arriving on campus and the Fall semester getting underway, campus leaders are starting to decide on student success and retention strategies for the academic year. Do you have the right information to know which students to target? What types of students should you be concerned about? By providing decision-ready data based on over 100,000 enrolled students annually, MARKETview provides unique vision into how students retain and succeed. 

Distance From Campus

Conventional wisdom holds that out-of-state students, who often pay higher tuition and are farther from home, are at greater risk of not returning than in-state students, who are closer to their support systems. The problem with this blunt approach is that it misses nuance on how geography informs retention likelihood: depending on where your campus is located, an out-of-state student could be closer to home than an in-state student.  

Instead, you should be looking at distance from campus. Looking at MARKETview’s first-year retention data from both private and public institutions, we’ve found that first-year retention rates can change significantly by distance band: 

First-Year Retention by Distance From Campus

Public Colleges & Universities

Distance1st Yr Retention Rate
0-49 miles   80.1%
50-99 miles85.1%
100-199 miles85.5%
200-299 miles80.7%
300-399 miles82.9%
400-499 miles83.6%
500-999 miles85.4%
1,000+ miles78.6%

Private Colleges & Universities

Distance1st Yr Retention Rate
0-49 miles84.1%
50-99 miles85.7%
100-199 miles84.9%
200-299 miles86.5%
300-399 miles85.9%
400-499 miles84.2%
500-999 miles83.6%
1,000+ miles80.7%

At our public partners, we see significant drops in retention at three specific distance bands: 0-49 miles (1.9 percentage points) from campus, 200-299 miles from campus (1.3 percentage points), and 1,000+ miles from campus (3.4 percentage points). At our private partners, we see a significant drop at 1,000+ miles from campus (3.6 percentage points). 

Are you able to look at your students through the lens of distance from campus, instead of just in-state and out-of-state? How does retention change by distance band at your campus, and how does this inform your student success decisions? 

By providing decision grade analytics on demand, MARKETview can flag retention risks in your entering class and inform your strategies and investments for effectively managing them.