New student enrollment and retention grew in fall 2010 for more than half of institutions

This report documents fall 2010 new student enrollment and retention in higher education at the undergraduate level, based on a national, Web-based poll Noel-Levitz conducted of college and university admissions officials.

Among the findings, this report shows that new student enrollment and retention rose on more than half of campuses again this fall.

Official fall 2010 census data from a sample of 218 colleges and universities shows that more than half of the higher education institutions met their enrollment goals for fall 2010, according to a new benchmark report from Noel-Levitz, though there was significant variability in the findings. Among the report’s highlights:

  • Four-year private institutions saw a 6.9 percent median increase in FTIC (first-time-in-college) students in fall 2010, followed by four-year public institutions at 3.9 percent and two-year public institutions at 2.0 percent. This represented a reversal from a year earlier when two-year public institutions reported significant growth at the median compared to minimal increases at four-year institutions.
  • Declines in FTIC enrollment were reported by 26 percent of four-year public institutions, 29 percent of four-year private institutions, and 44 percent of two-year public institutions.
  • Student retention rose approximately half a percentage point at the median, though declines were reported by about 40 percent of respondents across institution types.
  • Increased competition was evident, as nearly two-thirds of four-year institutions, public and private, reported setting more aggressive new student enrollment and retention goals for fall 2010 compared to a year earlier. Goal-setting was most aggressive among four-year private institutions in the area of student retention while goal-setting was most aggressive among four-year public institutions in the area of FTIC enrollment.

See the report for additional details, including transfer student outcomes, breakdowns for large versus small four-year institutions, and specific degrees of variance between actual fall 2010 enrollment and fall 2010 goals for each quartile of respondents.

About the author

Ruffalo Noel Levitz has partnered with more than 3,000 colleges and universities and nonprofit organizations. We help institutions exceed their goals for college enrollment, student success, and fundraising.

Read more about Ruffalo Noel Levitz’s experience and expertise »

Reach Ruffalo Noel Levitz by e-mail at

Click to learn more

E-mail Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Ruffalo Noel Levitz