Augustana Earns National Award for Student Retention

Augustana University Ranked No. 1 in SD by WalletHub

Augustana has been named a 2018 recipient of the Lee Noel-Randi Levitz Retention Excellence Award. The honor recognizes the University’s high student retention rates and celebrates the various ways in which the entire campus community is engaged in retention efforts.

Augustana is one of only three institutions nationwide to receive the award, presented by Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

Student retention was a focus area for “Horizons 2019,” Augustana’s strategic plan which launched in 2014.

Today, the University’s first-year, fall-to-fall retention is 86.5 percent, an increase of 5.5 percent since the launch of “Horizons 2019.”

The increase, University officials said, is due to a cross-campus collaborative approach to serving students, as well as the introduction of new centers focused on enhancing student engagement.

Retention initiatives are built into Augustana’s new First-Year Seminar, and are embedded in the University’s Center for Campus Life and Student Success Center, both of which were re-imagined in 2014.

University officials said that by creating a network of influencers directly connected to student persistence throughout the calendar year, Augustana’s environment is set up to support every student’s academic, social and professional pursuits in meaningful ways.

“First-year students who continue into their sophomore years and beyond are far more likely to persevere, graduate and earn their bachelor’s degree, and pursue a career of their choosing,” said President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. “This award is a testament to how Augustana’s increased retention rate has transformed students' lives thanks to the University’s dedicated faculty and staff, as well as the enhanced and focused efforts of our Student Success Center. We are very proud of this honor.”