At Louisiana State University, new tigers are starting their first weeks of classes-- but around 17 percent may not return next fall.

The university is working toward lowering this number. LSU History Department Chair and Dean Aaron SheehanDean says, “This has been an initiative of the administration in the last year and so last year they put in place this super comprehensive set of teams to try to monitor students who are at risk of failing out.”

According to a study done by LSU only 82.9 percent of the students who entered the university in fall 2016 returned for their second year. This is higher than the national average of 73.9 percent, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Sheehan-Dean says that LSU focuses on class attendance, and “The faculty are alert for who’s coming, who’s not coming and then of those who are coming who’s not doing well.” 

LSU has resources to help students stay on track, such as LSU Cares, which promotes the well-being of students and allows members of the LSU community to submit reports if concerned about a student.

Sheehan-Dean says the university is alert for any issues freshman may be having, and they try to determine, “What kind of problem is it and what can we do to help. If it’s about finances then that goes to a different place so all of our faculty know that this is a priority.” 

The university works to keep students enrolled but some withdrawing is inevitable. LSU junior Tommy Mathias left after his first year partially due to issues with grades, but he returned this fall.

He says since being back LSU has supported him immensely, and he has been helped a lot by the academic advisors. 

"I had one that I can’t think of her name off the top of my head, but she was super helpful," Mathias said. "She printed out my flow chart, told me what classes to take and all that. She was with me every step of the way.”

Sheehan-Dean believes if students take advantage of the resources on campus then more freshmen may return for their second year. 

For more information on how LSU supports freshmen visit the LSU Cares website at https://www.lsu.edu/saa/lsu-cares/or the LSU Center for Freshman Year at https://www.lsu.edu/universitycollege/ucfy/index.php