Delaware State University has broken enrollment records, with 4,648 students during the current fall semester.

This semester also marked a five-year rolling average where the university achieved a freshman retention rate of more than 70 percent, a key indicator of improving graduation rates.

“Recruiting and retention are two major indicators of a university’s health,” said President Harry L. Williams, who will leave DSU in January to become CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “Both require a total team effort on the part of our faculty, our staff, our students, and the families that support them.” During Williams’ eight-year tenure, DSU experienced a 22 percent enrollment increase and set the new standards for retention.

“What used to be thought of only as ‘admissions’ has now become a more comprehensive ‘strategic enrollment management’ function. We need that to continue growing the university. We’re pursuing even more applications from Delaware students, particularly in Sussex County; targeted outreach in the Hispanic community; steady growth in our graduate programs in both Dover and Wilmington; and developing unique online programs for working, adult learners,” said DSU Provost and Executive Vice President Tony Allen.

Allen also pointed out that next year the first graduating seniors from DSU’s Early College High School will be eligible to apply as full-time students.

“These students arrive with up to 60 credit hours earned during high school, and are already familiar with our campus and expectations,” Allen said. “We expect them to be of significant value to our campus community. In fact, they already are.”

“We are aiming at 80 percent first-year retention and 5,000 students by 2020, which is an ambitious goal, but with this foundation and the team we’ve assembled, I’m confident they’ll get there,” Williams said.

DSU’s record enrollment includes 4,346 undergraduates and 302 graduate students. This includes 950 incoming freshmen and 293 transfers.