University of Georgia Reports Record First-Year Retention Rate and Enrollment Highs

University of Georgia Reports Record First-Year Retention Rate and Enrollment Highs
Discussion groups (photo courtesy of Peter Frey/UGA)

The University of Georgia (UGA) has achieved a nearly 95% first-year retention rate, showcasing the success of ongoing initiatives to enhance the academic environment and student support. Newly released data reveals that 94.6% of first-time freshmen continued into their second year at UGA, a slight increase from the previous year’s rate of 94.3%. The university’s six-year completion rate remains strong at 88%, matching the record set in the preceding year. Moreover, nearly three-quarters of UGA students graduate within four years, contributing to an impressive four-year completion rate.

Comparing UGA to its peer institutions, the university continues to outperform with an average retention rate of 91% and a six-year completion rate of 80% among its counterparts. UGA attributes its success to a commitment to academic excellence and various measures taken over the past decade to support students’ academic journey.

A commitment to academic excellence

Under the Active Learning Initiative, UGA has revamped classrooms, provided faculty training, and enhanced student programming to elevate instruction and engagement. Faculty hiring initiatives have brought world-class scholars to classrooms and research laboratories, while an increased staff of academic advisors ensures personalized guidance and support. The university has expanded tutoring, mentorship, and peer-learning programs, with the Connect and Complete program aiding students facing academic challenges or at risk of early withdrawal.

Marisa Anne Pagnattaro, Vice President for Instruction and Senior Vice Provost for Academic Planning, emphasized UGA’s intentional use of data to inform student success. The university focuses on pedagogical innovation, striving to continually improve the student experience.

Holistic and proactive support for students

UGA’s holistic support includes initiatives like Welcome UGA, celebrating incoming and returning students, and a well-being initiative providing clinical and nonclinical resources for mental health. The Department of Student Transitions in the Division of Student Affairs offers numerous programs to inform students of resources, connect them with peers and faculty, and empower them as they navigate college life.

Enrollment at UGA reached an all-time high of 41,615 students this fall, reflecting a growth of 1,008 students over the previous semester. This record enrollment includes students from 115 countries, all 50 U.S. states, and 156 of Georgia’s 159 counties. UGA achieved this milestone amid increasing competition for admission, welcoming one of its most academically qualified first-year classes in history, chosen from a pool of over 43,500 applicants.

S. Jack Hu, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, attributes the university’s appeal to factors such as world-class faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and a robust network of student support. Investments in these areas are expected to further enhance UGA’s reputation as one of the nation’s top public universities.