Retention and Graduation Rates

Retention and graduation rates are updated each year based on degrees awarded by October 1 of the reporting year. Retention rates are the percentage of a fall entrance cohort who are still enrolled, and haven’t yet graduated, in subsequent fall terms. Graduation rates are the cumulative percentage of a fall entrance cohort who have graduated by the end of the summer term.

New Freshmen

Retention and graduation rates are calculated for students in the fall new freshmen cohort and for sub-groups of the new freshmen cohort. Tabulations include retention rates to the second through seventh years, and graduation rates after four, five, and six years. The rates presented here comply with the requirements of Section 488(a)(3) of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) which requires disaggregation of retention and graduation rates by gender, race/ethnicity, and by specified financial aid circumstances (Pell Grant recipients, Stafford Loan non-Pell Grant recipients, and students who did not receive either a Pell Grant or a Stafford Loan).

For the fall 2020 entrance cohort of UW-Madison new freshmen, 95.2% returned to enroll in the fall of 2021. For the fall 2015 entrance cohort (the most recent cohort that has had six years to graduate), 89.2% graduated within six years. For the fall 2017 cohort (the most recent cohort that has had four years to graduate), 71.8% graduated within four years.

By Gender

By Race/Ethnicity, First Generation Status, and Veterans Status

By Residency for Tuition Purposes

By Financial Aid Participation

By Scholarship/Pre-College/Academic Support Programs

By University Housing Residential Learning Communities and First-Year Interest Groups

Summaries

New Transfer Students

Retention and graduation rates are calculated for students in the fall new transfer cohort and for several sub-groups of the cohort. Tabulations include retention rates to the second through seventh years, and graduation rates after three, four, five, and six years. Retention and graduation rates are provided for transfer students entering from UW-Madison’s two largest transfer partners – Madison College and the UW Colleges (now merged with regional UW four-year institutions).

For the fall 2020 entrance cohort of UW-Madison new transfer students, 90.4% returned to enroll in the fall of 2021. For the fall 2015 entrance cohort (the most recent cohort that has had six years to graduate), 84.1% graduated within six years. For transfer students, the majority graduated within three years of transferring.

Enhanced Retention and Graduation Rates

As a participant in the Student Achievement Measure (SAM), a national initiative to provide a more comprehensive and accurate picture of student progress and completion as students move across institutions and state boundaries, UW-Madison submits and publishes enhanced graduation rates. These rates make use of the enrollment and degree records submitted to the National Student Clearinghouse which can be used to track students who started at UW-Madison but were not retained to the second year or did not graduate within 6 years.

Retention and Graduation Rates for Student Athletes

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Report on Graduation Success Rates of Athletes. Search for Division I Graduation Success Rates on the top of the ride side of the web page.