SEARCY, Ark. – Harding University fall 2020 enrollment figures include its highest ever retention and graduation rates, with fall to fall retention at 86.7% versus 84.7% in 2019 and six-year graduation rate at 71.5%, up from 68.6% over prior year. Retention of minority students was its highest ever at 80.2%, up from 75% in 2019. Undergraduate enrollment is 3,579 and graduate is 1,042, for a total of 4,621. New student headcount is 913.
“Harding University has long had the goal of 85% retention. For a university that recruits nationwide and internationally to exceed this goal demonstrates that we are succeeding, and we are extremely proud of our nearly 87% retention rate,” said Provost Marty Spears. “Students who select Harding not only stay, they achieve their educational and professional goals as they do so.”
Other significant milestones include a 42% increase in enrollment of minority students since 2015 and an increase in overall four-year graduation rates from 46% to 53% during the same period. Harding’s four- and six-year graduation rates are significantly higher than the national average four-year graduation rate of 43.7% and the six-year graduation rate of 60.4% as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics.
“As we all work together to mitigate the spread and effects of COVID-19 on our campuses and across the country, Harding is seeking new ways to grow in this difficult environment,” Spears continued. “We are finalizing plans for a major initiative to significantly expand our online capabilities and offerings to provide more students the opportunity to obtain a world-class, Christ-centered Harding education.”
Those plans will be announced later this fall.
New accolades for 2020 include The Princeton Review rating Harding one of the 142 best colleges in the Southeast and one of only four Arkansas schools to make the list. PLEXUSS, a website that provides information about college and career to more than 6,000,000 student users, has recognized Harding as having nine graduate and undergraduate academic programs ranked number one in the state of Arkansas based on advanced metrics that include student survey responses in 24 categories across a wide range of disciplines. Harding was in the top four in Arkansas for all its programs and highly ranked nationally as well. Finally, the University was ranked No. 8 by Study.com for best international business schools in the country.