17 Feb 2023

SAU Reports Significant Increases in Retention, Graduation Rates, and Social Mobility Index to Highlight Student Success

A recent study by Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) ’s Office of Institutional Research and Analysis (OIRA) reveals significant increases in the university’s retention rates, graduation rates, and social mobility index. OIRA completed the study less than two months after their announcement of SAU being among the country’s top historically black colleges/universities (HBCUs) in alumni giving and student-faculty ratio.

“We have empirical evidence that student success is more than an idea. It is who we are,” said SAU President Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail. “The OIRA team is essential in reporting real and measurable outcomes that accurately tell the story of the university’s progress.”

According to Federal Student Aid, retention rates are a school’s percentage of first-time, first-year undergraduate students who continue at that school the following year. SAU showed its most significant increase in its retention rate, which has risen from 52% to over 77%, an increase of 25% since the 2021-2022 academic year. In addition, SAU’s graduation rate, a school’s percentage of first-time, first-year undergraduate students who complete within six years, improved by 3% to now stand at 22%.

“This impressive twenty-five percent increase speaks to the commitment SAU has to maintain a diverse learning environment that successfully engages and retains its students,” said Dr. Runell King, SAU’s associate vice president of institutional research and special projects. “Furthermore, the university’s improved graduation rate adds to our successes, such as our student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1, which ensures that we meet each student’s educational needs through personalized attention from faculty members.”

According to CollegeNet, the Social Mobility Index (SMI) measures the extent to which a college or university educates more economically disadvantaged students awarded with Pell Grants. According to the U.S. News & World Report, students whose adjusted gross family incomes are under $50,000 receive most of these federal grants. In 2022, SAU ranked 233 out of 1,414 institutions in SMI, placing the university among the top 16% of universities in the nation.

“The significant advancements made by the university are evidenced by the combined efforts of its departments, as well as the involvement and support of its leadership team,” said Dr. Indrani Singh, Director of Institutional Research & Data Analytics. “This is demonstrated by the increased retention rates, graduation rates, and social mobility index.”

“The 2022 SMI rating demonstrates the university’s commitment to providing an opportunity for all students regardless of background or economic status,” Dr. King said. “This rating, coupled with the university’s standing among the top 5 HBCUs for alumni giving rate of 16%, is further bolstered by aid programs such as grants and scholarships that make higher education more accessible for those who need it most. These accomplishments demonstrate SAU’s remarkable commitment to collegiate excellence and social responsibility.”

Click here to learn more about OIRA.