Retention and graduation rates are updated each year based on degrees awarded by October 1 of the reporting year. Retention rates are the percentage of a fall entrance cohort who are still enrolled, and haven’t yet graduated, in subsequent fall terms. Graduation rates are the cumulative percentage of a fall entrance cohort who have graduated by the end of the summer term.
Retention and graduation rates are calculated for students in the fall new freshmen cohort and for sub-groups of the new freshmen cohort. Tabulations include retention rates to the second through seventh years, and graduation rates after four, five, and six years. The rates presented here comply with the requirements of Section 488(a)(3) of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) which requires disaggregation of retention and graduation rates by gender, race/ethnicity, and by specified financial aid circumstances (Pell Grant recipients, Stafford Loan non-Pell Grant recipients, and students who did not receive either a Pell Grant or a Stafford Loan).
For the fall 2021 entrance cohort of UW-Madison new freshmen, 94.3% returned to enroll in the fall of 2022. For the fall 2016 entrance cohort (the most recent cohort that has had six years to graduate), 89.2% graduated within six years. For the fall 2018 cohort (the most recent cohort that has had four years to graduate), 75.1% graduated within four years.
By Race/Ethnicity, First Generation Status, and Veterans Status
- Underrepresented Students of Color
- Hispanic/Latino(a) Students
- Students Reporting Two or More Races
- Black/African American Students
- American Indian/Alaska Native Students
- Asian Students
- Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander Students
- White Students
- International Students
- First Generation College Students
- Military Veteran Students
By Residency for Tuition Purposes
By Financial Aid Participation
- New Freshmen who Received a Federal Pell Grant
- New Freshmen who Received a Subsidized Stafford Loan but not a Pell Grant
- New Freshmen who did not Receive either a Pell Grant or a Stafford Loan
- FASTrack Financial Aid Program Participants
- BANNER Financial Aid Program Participants
- Bucky’s Tuition Promise Recipients
By Scholarship/Pre-College/Academic Support Programs
- PEOPLE Program Participants
- Posse Program Participants
- Mercile J Lee Scholarship Program Participants
- Center for Educational Opportunity (CEO) Program Participants
- First Wave Program Participants
- Students who lived in University Residence Halls
By University Housing Residential Learning Communities and First-Year Interest Groups
- First-Year Interest Group (FIGs) Participants
- Bradley Learning Community Residents
- Chadbourne Residential College Residents
- StartUp Learning Community Residents
- International Learning Community Residents
- Multicultural Learning Community Residents
- Women in Science and Engineering Residents
- GreenHouse Learning Community Residents
- The Studio Learning Community Residents
- Open House Learning Community Residents
- BioHouse Learning Community Residents
New Transfer Students
Retention and graduation rates are calculated for students in the fall new transfer cohort and for several sub-groups of the cohort. Tabulations include retention rates to the second through seventh years, and graduation rates after three, four, five, and six years. Retention and graduation rates are provided for transfer students entering from UW-Madison’s two largest transfer partners – Madison College and the UW Colleges (now merged with regional UW four-year institutions).
For the fall 2020 entrance cohort of UW-Madison new transfer students, 90.4% returned to enroll in the fall of 2021. For the fall 2015 entrance cohort (the most recent cohort that has had six years to graduate), 84.1% graduated within six years. For transfer students, the majority graduated within three years of transferring.
- All new transfers
- New transfers entering at the freshman/sophomore level
- New transfers entering at the junior level
- New transfers entering at the senior level
- New transfers entering from Madison College
- New transfers entering from the UW Colleges
- All transfer retention and graduation rates in a single document
Enhanced Retention and Graduation Rates
As a participant in the Student Achievement Measure (SAM), a national initiative to provide a more comprehensive and accurate picture of student progress and completion as students move across institutions and state boundaries, UW-Madison submits and publishes enhanced graduation rates. These rates make use of the enrollment and degree records submitted to the National Student Clearinghouse which can be used to track students who started at UW-Madison but were not retained to the second year or did not graduate within 6 years.
Retention and Graduation Rates for Student Athletes
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Report on Graduation Success Rates of Athletes. Search for Division I Graduation Success Rates on the top of the ride side of the web page.