SAN ANGELO, Texas —
Angelo State University is a four-year university with 10,447 students currently enrolled, but not every student makes it to graduation.

“For us, retention is one of those things we are going to be working on retention forever,” Don Topliff, vice president for academic affairs, said.

Topliff said unlike D-1 schools such as Texas A&M, UT or Baylor, Angelo State struggles with retention because of student population disadvantages.

“The median income of their parents is about three times of what the median income of what our parents are. They have a financial advantage they got an advantage in terms of where they graduated in their high school class. Then there’s expectation with students that are not first generation their parents and their families expect them to graduate,” Topliff said.


According to the university, Angelo State has an almost 70 percent retention rate when it comes to students who stay the first year. The university has a 31 percent retention rate when it comes to four-year graduation, meaning that most students stay their first semester, but less than half make it across the stage.


“It’s lower than what we want it to be but if you look at our student population, we have a high percent of first-generation students who have to work and its very difficult for them to graduate in three or four year,” Topliff said.

The retention rate at ASU has gone up since 2012, but it doesn’t compare to Baylor’s 77 percent retention. Topliff said their goal for the future will set them up to compete with larger universities.

“We will never get to 100 percent no institution has 100 retention, but we have a goal that by 2030 to be at 75 percent first and second year retention,” Topliff said.