Persistence is personal, while retention is institutional. Students are actively concerned about their own and their friends’ persistence, while virtually no (or very few) students know or care about their institution’s retention rates. Retention takes a “top-down” approach, assuming that focusing resources on keeping students at an institution will enhance their experiences, which may or may not be the case. Persistence, on the other hand, works from the bottom up, basing organizational goals, strategies, and plans on individual students’ capacities to keep working toward their futures.
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