While all institutions aim to increase retention and degree completion, actually doing so is difficult. Universities are complex organizations; often times, organizational structure impedes the ability to introduce the dynamic, systemic changes required to lift these outcomes. Students also face a growing number of personal obstacles, like family responsibilities, rising debt and uncertain economic conditions. In the face of these challenges, universities must embrace shared efforts that cross departments and divisions to achieve results.
DePaul’s organizational commitment to retention and degree completion was demonstrated by the introduction of the Executive Retention Group (referred to as XRG) in April 2008. Under the executive leadership of Enrollment Management (EM) and Academic Affairs, XRG quickly adopted a conceptual framework, the "4 Ps of Student Retention," to guide DePaul's overall approach to institution-wide retention research and programs.
The 4 Ps framework outlines a strategic approach to retention that starts with attention to the profile of the students admitted, focuses on ways to facilitate their progress toward degree completion, improves the process of navigating this complex institution and ensures that all students' experiences in and out of the classroom fulfill the promise of a DePaul education.
The resulting effect of DePaul’s retention efforts is significant. The four-year graduation rate is the highest ever at 59 percent. The six-year graduation rate, an institutional record 73 percent, exceeds the graduation rate that would be statistically predicted given the academic and demographic profile of DePaul’s student population. The first-year retention rate, gradually increasing over the last 15 years, is 84 percent.
To learn more about the 4 Ps and DePaul’s retention efforts, visit our Student Retention website or contact Brady Johnson.
EM Initiatives Using the 4 Ps
EM has played a pivotal role in fostering the 4 Ps success. Examples of EM initiatives include:
- Introduction of noncognitive variables and test-optional admission (profile).
- Comprehensive institutional research to understand the most important variables in progress toward degree (progress).
- The introduction of DePaul Central to streamline the most fundamental enrollment transactions (process).
- Robust and innovative career services that ensure all students have opportunities that help them bridge their academic and career interests (promise).