December 8, 2021

Man Fine

The Fine Art Of Education

25 Colleges With the Highest Retention Rates

College is a key period in every student’s life, however for a multitude of reasons, significant numbers of students decide to drop out of the college course.

Bill Staib, the CEO and co-founder of CollegeRaptor.com, the company responsible for collecting the data, calls the first-year retention rate a “fantastic indicator” of how well a college meets students’ academic, social, and financial needs.

He told Newsweek: “Because colleges with the best retention rates usually also have high graduation rates, excellent academic programs, generous financial aid, and a vibrant campus life, College Raptor’s recommendation engine heavily weights retention rate to help students discover a personalized list of great colleges their family can afford.

“By bringing transparency to college search, we help students find great schools and achieve successful lives.”

The following methodology was used to acquire this data for Newsweek.

  • All data was obtained from the U.S. Department of Education’s IPEDS data center from the two most recent reporting years (2019-2020 and 2018-2019 school year).
  • An average of the last two years’ retention data was used to determine the schools with the highest and lowest retention rate.
  • The retention rate is defined as the percent of the (fall full-time cohort from the prior year minus exclusions from the fall full-time cohort) that re-enrolled at the institution as either full- or part-time in the current year.
  • To meet the criteria for inclusion in this study, the schools must have offered at least a bachelor’s degree, must be a 4 year or above institution including public, private for-profit, and private not-for-profit, have at least 100 total undergraduate students and more than 25 in their freshman cohort and must have an identifiable Carnegie classification that does not indicate a specialty school.

Newsweek presents the U.S. colleges with the highest student retention rates.

21= Johns Hopkins University (97%)

College is a key period in every student’s life
Prostock-Studio/Getty Images

Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins University is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland.

The prestigious college writes in a statement on its site: “140 years ago, we defined the model of the American research university—now emulated around the globe.

“To this day, we’re known for our groundbreaking discoveries, daring ideas, and positive impact through innovation.”

21= Harvey Mudd College (97%)

Harvey Mudd College is a private college situated in Claremont, California, focused on science and engineering.

With a reported acceptance rate of just 14 percent, admissions are extremely competitive at this small institution founded in the 1950s.

21= Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus (97%)

Georgia Institute of Technology

The Georgia Institute of Technology, commonly referred to as Georgia Tech is a premium public research university in Atlanta.

Popular majors at this big institution with an acceptance rate of 21 percent include Information Science, Mechanical Engineering and Business.

21= Cornell University (97%)

Founded in 1865, Cornell University is a private Ivy League statutory land-grant research university in Ithaca, New York.

Admissions is extremely competitive as the Cornell acceptance rate is 11 percent, while popular majors include Biology, Computer Science, and Hospitality and Tourism Management.

21= Carnegie Mellon University (97%)

Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, founded in 1900.

The college, which is consistently ranked as a top-25 institution, says it is “world-renowned for its approach to education and research.”

16= United States Coast Guard Academy (97.5%)

United States Coast Guard Academy

Founded in 1876, Coast Guard is a highly rated public college located in New London, Connecticut.

Admissions are competitive at this small institution and popular majors include Political Science and Government, Engineering, and Business.

16= Swarthmore College (97.5%)

Swarthmore College is a private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania and funded in 1864, is one of the earliest coeducational colleges in the U.S.

This elite private college with an extremely competitive admission rate is popular for majors such as Economics, Mathematics and Information Science.

16= Rice University (97.5%)

William Marsh Rice University is a private research university sitting on a 300-acre site at the centre of Houston.

The most popular majors at Rice include Information Science, Economics and Mechanical Engineering.

16= Northwestern University (97.5%)

Founded in 1851, Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston, Illinois.

Popular majors at this mid-sized institution include Economics, Psychology and Journalism.

16= Dartmouth College (97.5%)

Dartmouth College is a private Ivy League research university in Hanover, New Hampshire, established in 1769, making it the ninth-oldest institution of higher education in the U.S.

Popular majors at this elite college with a reported acceptance rate of just eight percent include Economics, Political Science and Government and Engineering Science.

6= Williams College (98%)

Located in western Massachusetts, Williams College was recently ranked as one of the best small colleges in the U.S.

The most popular majors at the college set up in 1793 include Economics, English, and Political Science and Government.

6= University of Pennsylvania (98%)

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research college in Philadelphia with a purported founding date of 1740.

With an acceptance rate of eight percent, admissions are considered extremely competitive and popular majors include Finance, Management Sciences and Information Systems, and Philosophy.

6= University of Notre Dame (98%)

Notre Dame is a highly regarded private, Catholic college situated in Portage Township, Indiana.

Popular majors at this mid-sized university include Finance, Economics, and Political Science and Government

6= Princeton University (98%)

Founded in 1746, Princeton University is a private Ivy League research college situated in New Jersey, with notable alumni include Jef Bezos, James Maddison and Michelle Obama.

Popular majors at this elite educational institution with a reported acceptance rate of just six percent include Computer Science, Economics and Public Policy Analysis.

6= Northeastern University (98%)

Established in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university with its primary campus situated in Boston.

Popular majors at this large institution include Business, Information Science and Mechanical Engineering.

6= Harvard University (98%)

Established in 1636, Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Popular majors at this prestigious establishment with a reported acceptance rate of only five percent include Economics, Computer Science, and Political Science and Government.

6= Duke University (98%)

Duke University is a private research university that moved to Durham in 1892.

Popular majors at this elite private, Christian university include Computer Science, Economics and Public Policy Analysis.

6= California Institute of Technology (98%)

California Institute of Technology

Caltech is an elite and small-sized private college located in Pasadena, California.

Popular majors at this college with a competitive acceptance rate reportedly of six percent include Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering.

6= Brown University (98%)

Established in 1764, Brown is a private Ivy League college based in Providence, Rhode Island.

Popular majors at this mid-sized educational institution include Computer Science, Biology and Economics.

6= Bowdoin College (98%)

Bowdoin College is a private liberal arts college in Brunswick, Maine, chartered in 1794.

Some of the most popular majors at this university include Political Science and Government, Economics and Mathematics.

5. Columbia University in the City of New York (98.5%)

Columbia University in the City of New York

Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in New York established in 1754, making the college the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S.

Popular majors among students at this elite college include Economics, Computer Science, and Political Science and Government.

1= Yale University (99%)

Yale is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut, founded in 1701.

The most popular majors to take at this elite educational establishment include Economics, Political Science and Government and History.

1= University of Chicago (99%)

The University of Chicago is a private research college founded in 1890 by John D. Rockefeller and reportedly home to 92 Nobel laureates.

Among the most popular majors at this highly regarded college are Economics, Mathematics and Public Policy Analysis.

1= Stanford University (99%)

Stanford University is an elite private research college in California based on a sprawling campus which is among the largest in the U.S.

Popular majors at this university with a reported acceptance rate of just four percent include Computer Science, Engineering and Biology.

1= Massachusetts Institute of Technology (99%)

MIT is a highly prestigious and small-sized private college located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The most popular majors at MIT include Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics.