Vielka Cecilia Hoy, Founder/Director at Vielka Hoy Consulting, Teacher, and Parent
The retention rate is the percentage of students who stay after they have started (regardless of graduating); the graduation rate is the percentage of students who complete their degree. Retention rates are important (it is one of the items I look at when creating college lists with students) because they may indicate whether students are generally satisfied with their college experiences. Because some schools are struggling to graduate students in a timely manner, looking at the retention rate may also show how many students recognized those issues early (e.g. courses not available; financial aid package not what they imagined) and decided to leave. Ideally, you would want a retention rate to be closer to 100% with anything above 85% or so to be a good sign.