When studying in Renne Library, walking on Centennial Mall or sitting in a 300-person lecture in Leon Johnson Hall, students can expect to see many unfamiliar faces. They are likely to run into new people on the daily with a campus as populous as MSU’s. This is connected to an unprecedented number of students enrolled here. MSU currently boasts the highest spring enrollment rates ever seen on campus, with 15,694 students for the spring 2019 semester, a new record in the university’s 126-year history.

According to the Registrar’s Office, enrollment rates have been on the rise for more than a decade — ultimately culminating in the highest enrollment ever seen at MSU. The increased levels of enrollment can be attributed to efforts focused on increasing retention rates, or the percentage of freshman who return to MSU for multiple years after the completion of their first. MSU currently has a retention rate of 77 percent for returning students — the highest rate the school has seen in over 30 years.

Retention is incredibly important for a university in that higher retention rates lead to higher graduation rates, which is ultimately the purpose of a university. To increase these statistics, MSU has implemented a plan called Choosing Promise. Its purpose is to streamline the goals of the university and connect faculty, students, alumni and community members to ensure its success. Choosing Promise allows each department to autonomously create plans for the future while contributing to the diversity and overall prosperity of MSU.

Ultimately, the goal of Choosing Promise is to increase the university’s retention rate by 13 percent by 2024. This would put the university at a much higher retention rate and increase the overall success of MSU. However, increasing the retention rate is no small feat. Many higher level schools tend to increase this number by only accepting top-tier students. MSU’s acceptance rate is relatively high, meaning the university accepts the majority of applicants. This leads to greater diversity, but also lower relative retention rates. The Choosing Promise program will increase retention rates and contribute to the long term success of the university. The overall enrollment rates and retention rates at the university as of now are something to acknowledge and celebrate. With the implementation of Choosing Promise, retention will likely continue increasing at unprecedented rates.