Metric One

Metric 1: One-Year Retention Rate, FTFT Associate Degree-Seeking Students

A retention rate is the percentage of students from a given cohort who graduated or were still enrolled at a USG institution within a specified term (for example, one year later). The total beginning cohort is the denominator of the rate; the number of students enrolled/graduated is the numerator of the rate calculation. Two rates are reported here – the institution-specific rate and the system-wide rate.

Institution-specific: For the institution-specific retention rate, the institution-specific number of cohort members enrolled or graduated is divided by the total cohort number.

System-wide: For the system-wide retention rate, the system-wide number of cohort members enrolled or graduated is divided by the total cohort number.

First-Time Full-Time Associate Degree-Seeking Freshmen One-Year Retention Rates                               Institution- Specific for
State Colleges       
System-Wide for
State Colleges
Institution-Specific Rate for SGSC System-Wide Rate for SGSC Avg institution- specific rate for
all 8 USG state colleges
Avg rate within the System for 
all 8 USG state colleges
Year N N % N % % %
Cohort Retained Retained Retained Retained Retained Retained
Fall 2015 910 409 44.95% 591 64.95% 58.00% 66.50%
Fall 2016 812 403 49.63% 572 70.44% 55.80% 65.60%
Fall 2017 849 345 40.60% 520 61.20% 51.50% 59.70%
Fall 2018 773 342 44.20% 468 60.50% 55.20% 64.10%
Fall 2019 664 307 46.25% 452 68.10% 56.60% 65.80%
Fall 2020 419 210 50.10% 258 61.60% 51.70% 58.80%
Fall 2021 380 191 50.30% 230 60.50% 53.20% 58.50%
Source: USG ADC Census; USG Retention Rate Reports -

Analysis and Evaluation of Metric 1

The data in Metric 1 shows that the one-year institution-specific retention rate for SGSC’s FTFT associate degree-seeking students has remained consistent at a 47% six-year average from fall 2016 through fall 2021 cohorts, while the institution-specific average for all eight USG state colleges for the same period was 54%. The Georgia Highlands average for the period was 64%, well above the SGSC and System averages. SGSC’s goal is a one-year FTFT associate degree-seeking student retention rate of 55% for the fall 2025 student cohort, and the fall 2021 cohort rate of 50.3% is a good start from the 47% average for the previous five years. 

While the SGSC-specific one-year retention rate for FTFT degree-seeking students has been consistently lower than the average for all eight USG state colleges, the one-year retention rate of former SGSC students within the USG over the six years averages 64%, while for the same period, the average for all USG state colleges is 62.5%. Given the AA and AS transfer mission of USG state colleges and the ease of transfer among USG institutions facilitated by a common core curriculum, it is significant that SGSC prepares students well for receiving institutions. SGSC’s goal is to maintain a one-year retention rate within the USG of 65% by the fall 2025 cohort.