A record 76.6 percent of freshmen who began their coursework at the University of New Mexico last summer and fall returned for a second year, school officials said Monday.
The retention rate is slightly higher than the record of 75.9 percent set in the fall of 2005. Retention of Hispanic freshmen also increased by more than three percent, from 73.1 percent in 2006 to 76.8 percent in 2007, UNM officials said. The numbers reflect first-time, full-time students.
Peter White, dean of University College, said that the freshman year typically is the most difficult at colleges nationwide.
“If you can get through the first year, the chances of success dramatically increase,” he said.
School officials attributed the increased retention in part to the Lottery Success Scholarship, which covers tuition for eight semesters for students who graduate from New Mexico high schools and maintain a 2.5 grade point average.
“The longer the lottery scholarship goes on, the closer the connection to retention is,” said Wynn Goering, vice provost.
School officials also credited programs that give students an opportunity to make up the lottery scholarship’s minimum credit hour requirements and those that help students transition to college life for the increased retention rate.
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