Student Retention Formula

Student Retention Formula

The first step toward improving your retention so that you grow your school is to find a way to measure it. Without measuring retention, you won’t know how well you’re doing at the “keep students” part of your school that is so important to your success.

“What gets measured gets done”

Here’s a simple formula to help determine your retention throughout the year:

(*Active students are those that have attended classes within the past two weeks). 1. StartwiththetotalnumberofactivestudentsasofDecember31lastyear.

2. Add to that the total number of new students who have enrolled year-to- date.

3. Count the number of active students you currently have.

4. Divide #3 above by the sum of #1 & #2. That is your retention rate as a percentage.

For example, if you were to do this in June:

1. 150 actives as of December 31st
2. New students January 1st to June 30th = 80 new students enrolled

Add the 150 actives students you ended the year with to the 80 you’ve enrolled year to date = 230 students (this is 100% retention)

3. Current active count = 180 students are currently attending class

4. 180 ÷ 230 = .78 or 78% retention

The shorter period of time you track this, the higher the percentage. The longer period of time you calculate this formula for, the lower the retention rate. So if you calculate this for one month, your number may be in the mid-90%s, but if you calculate for 12 months, will be much lower, perhaps 50%.

By tracking your retention each and every month, you’ll also be able to see what months you lose the most students in, and then proactively come up with a way to keep that from happening before it does the next year.

Template for Calculating Your Student Retention

______ Number of active students on Dec. 31st of last year


______ Number of new students you’ve enrolled so far this year


______ Equal to the number of students you’d have if you retained 100% of them

_____ Current active student count / _____number of students if you had 100% retention = _____ Your current retention rate. (You’ll get a number like .86 which =86%. )


Action Steps: What to do now

  1. Gather the information you need to calculate your student retention on the number of:

    • Active students you had as of Dec 31st of last year

    • Number of new students you enrolled this year

    • Current active student count

  2. Plug the numbers into the Calculating Student Retention that’s included in this lesson to figure out our current retention %.

  3. Calculate your student retention each month and keep a record of it.

  4. If you don’t have the number of active students from last Dec. 31st, then start with the most current number of active students that you have and continue to track each month.