How to Improve College Student Retention in Chicago

Going to college is the beginning of a wonderful journey for any student. Apart from higher education, it also allows them to pursue their desired career to land a fruitful job in the future.

Student retention is also a valuable aspect for any educational institute as it protects its reputation. Also, public institutions rely on support based on their student body size.

Unfortunately, in Chicago, Illinois, the dropout rates have always been very high. It is imperative to develop College Student Retention and Improvement Solutions in Chicago, IL.

Here are a few student retention improvement solutions that will help colleges improve the situation:

Provide ample support to students

The institutions in Chicago have been facing a lot of dropout crisis for a while. According to the Chicago Public Schools data, 23% of first-year students dropped out in 2003. Among the rest, 74% never finish their sophomore year.

This fact is further proven by the graduation rate calculated by the Illinois State Board of Education between 1991 and 2004. According to it, Chicago Public Schools have only 69.8%, with only 54% of students graduating in the final year.

The scenario has not been too bright either, with almost 30% of first-year students dropping out every year in the United States; this might be the enormous student debt that most students suffer from.

When students fail, this puts a lot of pressure on them, which causes them to drop out. Faculties providing additional academic support through office hour tutoring can help students stay in class.

Also, implementing insurance for the degree that provides some income assurance is an excellent way of retaining students.

Special mention

Empowering the high schools and colleges to help students with the right resources is one of the best College Student Retention and Improvement Solutions in Chicago, IL.

Chicago has proved what an equity-focused plan and a comprehensive strategy can achieve despite its drawbacks. In 2021, the city witnessed a record-high graduation rate of 83.8%, with a dropout rate of only 3.8%.

Improve communication and engage students in the community

Did you know that in the United States, about 54% of college dropouts have been black students? The dropout rate was about 30% between 2013 and 2018 and was more than 33%, according to a 2020 study by the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

The truth is, black students have a higher chance of dropping out compared to white and Asian students.

Another reason for this is the students having to migrate to their state schools. Also, key factors are various systematic barriers in higher education, such as early college experience and affordability.

With the pandemic in 2019 and 2020, the financial discrepancy increased, making this a prevalent issue at hand. The single way to tackle this is for institutions to be more strategic in making the curriculums more engaging and community-oriented.

Of course, being involved in college community work is a social experience beneficial for students of all backgrounds. Making students participate in common activities, like academic clubs, can make the environment feel more welcoming to them.


The College Student Retention and Improvement Solutions in Chicago, IL, can help reduce the dropout rates other than the two mentioned above. If the younger generation’s future is to be secured, these methods are the only way to fix the situation.

But the fact is that the institutions have to be proactive in implementing these solutions to retain the students. In the long run, this will prove to be fruitful not just for the students’ future but also for the reputation of the colleges.