Institutional Research

December 2019 - Student Graduation and Retention Rates

Defining Terms

  • Graduation Rate - The cumulative percentage of students in a given fall term who graduated within a designated period of time. For example, the 4-year graduation rate is the proportion of entering students who earned a degree within 4 years.

  • Retention Rate - The percentage of students who continue to study in the next fall semester. Retention rates are calculated based on a fall to fall enrollment.​

Definitions taken from the Cal State data center glossary.


CSU, Chico By the Numbers

33% Graduation Rate 


74% Retention Rate


California State University, Chico

Find these numbers and more in the Fact Book.


Compare this 4-year rate to the 27.7% CSU systemwide 4-year graduation rate and the 67% CSU, Chico 6-year graduation rate to further understand what these numbers mean.


How can we improve graduation and retention rates?

Review and understand data regarding the topics of Equity, Engagement, and Resilience, as stated in the CSU, Chico Strategic Plan.

Equity - Use data to learn about the disparities in rates of retention and graduation across student groups.

Engagement - Ensure students are engaged in their learning through meaningful interactions with faculty, staff, and peers that drive persistence and achievement. The use of survey data, which is available from IR, can aid in understanding a students' level of engagement.

Resilience - Through a commitment to helping students thrive in challenging circumstances, identify and use systems and processes that support student success.

Focus on URM/Non-URM populations.