Retention at Cal Lutheran

What Is Retention?

In higher education, retention is defined as the process of keeping students enrolled in a college or university. Retaining students yields strong graduation rates, which indicates that an institution is serving its students effectively.

There are several ways to quantitatively and qualitatively assess the concept of retention — all of which are of interest to our institution as we seek to help students succeed.

Perception of Value: "Is It Worth It?"

 As students navigate their college journey, all of the interactions and encounters they have at Cal Lutheran — both big and small — define their experience through a single, combined feeling of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction). This is a basic way to understand retention.

Although there are many factors outside of the university's control that affect whether or not a student persists at Cal Lutheran, every staff and faculty member plays a role in helping our students feel valued, included, and supported as they work to achieve academic success and personal growth.

The Six Elements of Retention

To simplify the idea of retention, consider these key factors that contribute to students' experience at Cal Lutheran. 

Cost and financial aid

Cost & Financial Aid

"Can I afford to be here?"

Campus climate and belonging

Campus Climate & Belonging

"Do I feel part of this community?"

Academic Experience

Academic Experience

"Am I learning effectively?"


Advising & Mentoring

"Am I getting the right support?"


Involvement & Participation

"Is it worth my time to participate?"

Communication and service

Communication & Service

"Do I receive helpful service?"


Together, these components influence how students evaluate their journey through our institution. 


How Do We Move Forward?

Let's Start at the Beginning.

First Year ▸

Second Year

Third Year

Fourth Year

Although we analyze retention through many lenses and metrics, it is important that our institution focuses its retention efforts around a shared mission.

Studies of retention show that the percentage of traditional first-year undergraduate students who retain to their second year is one of the most critical indicators to follow. This first-year retention rate is our initial point of focus for retention efforts at Cal Lutheran.