The University of Arizona

UA Enrollment Tops 40,000 and Retention, Graduation Rates are Up Too

By Jennifer Fitzenberger, University Communications | September 20, 2012

Overall enrollment at the UA has topped 40,000 for the first time, and one-year retention rates have increased by 3 percent, from 77.2 percent in 2011 to 80.2 percent in 2012.

For the first time, overall enrollment at the University of Arizona this year has topped 40,000. Retention and graduation rates are up as well, as is the number of baccalaureate degrees conferred.

Newly available enrollment statistics show that in 2012-13, 40,223 students enrolled at the UA, up from 39,236 last year. The UA has teetered near the 40,000 mark for the last few years.

And in 2012, the one-year retention rate increased by 3 percent to 80.2 percent, up from 77.2 percent in 2011. For residents, the rate was 82.7 percent, up from 80.1 percent, and for non-residents, the rate was 75.9 percent, up from 71.9 percent.

The four-year graduation rate in 2011 was 39.9 percent, up from 36.3 percent in 2010, and the six-year rate was 61.4 percent, up from 59.8 percent.

"We are thrilled at the increase in student retention," said Melissa Vito, vice president for student affairs. "This reflects the coordinated, thoughtful and targeted efforts that student affairs and academic affairs, led by Gail Burd, vice provost for academic affairs, have worked toward. The data are beginning to reflect our collective efforts."

Programs such as Arizona Assurance and New Start and the Think Tank, which opened in fall 2009, and increased efforts by academic advisors and associate deans, have aided retention efforts, Vito said.

Last year, nearly 7,500 students visited the Think Tank approximately 45,000 times. "Over 70 percent of these students are freshmen and sophomores, and early data shows that students who use these services do better than those who don't. Our least academically prepared students who use Think Tank services returned at a 21 percent higher rate than students who did not use these services."

In fiscal year 2012, the UA conferred 6,352 baccalaureate degrees – the highest level ever. This figure puts the UA ahead of its goals for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. For comparison, the UA conferred 5,827 baccalaureate degrees in fiscal year 2010 and 6,195 in 2011.

The UA welcomed 1,964 new transfer students this year, up from last year's 1,843. Many of those students – 821 this year and 745 last year – transferred to the UA from Pima Community College.

"We are delighted to welcome more Arizona transfer students this year, and especially those from Pima Community College, to continue their education at our world-renowned institution," said Kasey Urquidez, associate vice president for student affairs and enrollment management and dean of undergraduate admissions.

"We know our transfer students have many choices, and we are confident they made the very best decision for their future to enroll and persist at the University of Arizona," she said.

This year, the UA also saw an increase in freshman international students – 5.4 percent of the class, up from 3.4 percent last year.

"All over the world, people know about the University of Arizona," Urquidez said.

"As a University, we have been building a powerful pipeline with our strong academic reputation and dedicated support services from application to graduation," she said. "We are very proud of the increased number of students from around the globe and know that our entire student body appreciates the opportunity to learn in such a culturally rich environment."

The top five majors of new freshmen for 2012-13 are pre-business (20.1 percent), pre-physiology (6.9 percent), psychology (4.7 percent), biology (3.8 percent) and pre-pharmacy (2.6 percent). The percentage of freshmen who are undecided is 14.6 percent, down from 15.3 percent last year.

"Freshmen first-semester credit hours are at an all-time high," Vito said. "Access to advisors and student satisfaction with advising also is at an all-time high as reflected by our latest campus climate data."

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