Factors Affecting Four-Year National University Retention
Varga, Franz L., 1994--
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The retention rate for first year students at NIU has been falling (with exception in 2009) on a year over year basis since 2006 (Planning and Assessment, NIU). With the installment of a new president and the Bold Futures Workshops of 2013-2014, NIU is at a turning point in its battle against falling retention rates. This capstone paper will be a combination of research methods, surveys, and finding data from other information sources to find the most likely drivers of high and low retention. The project will focus on four-year universities, as this sample provides the simplest means to gather data. This focus is of particular interest because of its relevance to Northern Illinois University’s student body and the future. Combining multiple sources of data, my work may present a source of suggestions and findings that could prove useful to the executive guidance and sustainability of the university. In particular, I plan to study the effect of crime rates on retention, as it was a high factor in Bold Futures Workshops for student concern. My hypothesis is that crime will not represent a significant factor to retention rates at four-year universities, and will only roughly correlate. Instead, it will be largely affected by local quality of living, first year engagement metrics, and tuition costs.