Carnegie Mellon University
Department of Philosophy
Our data sets contained information on 204 U.S. national universities, collected by the US News and World Report magazine for the purpose of college ranking in 1992 and 1993. One apparently robust finding of our study is that student retention is directly related to the average standardized test scores of the incoming freshmen. When test scores of incoming students are controlled for, factors such as student faculty ratio, faculty salary, and university's educational expenses per student are all independent of graduation rates, and, therefore, do not seem to directly influence student retention. As the test scores are indicators of the overall quality of the incoming students, we predict that one of the most effective ways of improving student retention in an individual university is increasing the university's selectivity.