Retention remains steady for full-time, on-campus students at Arizona’s public universities

Photo of a smiling, male student at a table interacting with other seated students

Retention remains steady for full-time, on-campus students at Arizona’s public universities

February 15, 2022

During a time when the COVID-19 pandemic saw colleges across the country struggling to keep students in school, through the extraordinary efforts of Arizona’s public universities, retention rates among full-time, on-campus students remained steady.

“The pandemic has brought many challenges to students, impacting their well-being and learning, and the university presidents have worked hard to keep our university communities healthy, safe and open for learning. While the effects of the pandemic have impacted enrollment and retention nationally, Arizona’s public universities remained strong and steady on both fronts. I believe this is a testimony to the resilience of our students and the hard work of our universities,” said Regent Larry E. Penley, chair of the Academic Affairs and Educational Attainment Committee.

First-time student retention rates at Arizona’s public universities are key indicators of student success and institutional effectiveness.

Key findings of the Fiscal Year 2022 First Time Student Retention Report released by the board include:

  • Arizona State University: Full-time, on-campus retention declined only 0.2% from 86.2% in 2021 to 86% in 2022.
  • Northern Arizona University: Full-time, on-campus student retention declined less than 1% from 76.5% in 2021 to 75.8% in 2022.
  • University of Arizona: Full-time, on-campus student retention decreased slightly year-over-year from 85.5% to 84.5%.

Among Arizona residents, full-time student retention declined by 1.8, 3.3 and 2.7 percentage points at ASU, NAU and UArizona respectively.

Pell Grant students saw a greater decrease in retention than non-Pell students, suggesting the COVID-19 pandemic impacted students from less affluent economic backgrounds the most.


Sarah Harper, 602-229-2542, 602-402-1341 |
Julie Newberg, 602-229-2534 |