Harding University sets record in student retention

Harding University, for the third consecutive year, has enrolled more than 4,400 undergraduate students.

Total undergraduate enrollment for 2015 is 4,450. In 2013, 4,428 undergraduates enrolled, and in 2014 the total was 4,491.

The 2015 total was bolstered by 992 first-time-in-college freshmen and a record-setting retention rate of 84.4 percent. The previous record retention came in 2005 when retention hit 83.1 percent

For 11 consecutive years, Harding’s retention rate from the freshman to sophomore class has exceeded 80 percent. The University’s goal is to reach and maintain a retention rate of 85 percent.

“This year’s retention rate for the freshmen-to-sophomore class is a credit to everyone on campus who has helped these students adjust and succeed as college students,” said President Bruce McLarty. “I am proud of every one of these students, and I’m grateful for every member of the Harding family who has helped 84 percent of our freshmen move forward into their sophomore year.

“Retention has been a high priority at Harding for many years. With the development of the Center for Student Success and the launching of the First Year Experience program, we are starting to see the level of success we were hoping for when these new initiatives were first planned.

“Our 84-percent retention rate means that more and more of our freshmen are thriving as college students and are well on their way to college success!”

The undergraduate enrollment coupled with 1,586 graduate and professional students brings Harding’s fall enrollment to 6,033. Students represent 49 states and 52 foreign nations.

The school received a total of 2,384 applications from new students for the 2015 fall semester. Harding has already received 915 applications for fall 2016, which is an all-time high for this time of year. Four hundred fourteen of these applicants have already been accepted.

In addition to the Searcy campus, students from the University are also studying at international programs in Australia, Chile, England, France, Greece, Italy and Zambia, plus professional centers in Rogers, Arkansas; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Memphis, Tennessee, and at the Harding School of Theology in Memphis.

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