An annual report shows freshman at the state’s public universities are returning to campus the following year at a much higher rate than the national average. The retention report prepared for the Board of Regents meeting on March 12 shows 87-percent of Iowa State University’s freshman class in 2012 returned for another year.

That’s one-percent better than the University of Iowa’s freshman retention rate and four-percent better than the University of Northern Iowa. All three schools are retaining nearly 10-percent more freshmen than the national four-year public college average.

The report also shows the University of Iowa is graduating nearly 70-percent of its students within six years. That compares to 69-percent at Iowa State and 67-percent at UNI. The national average six-year graduation rate is just under 49-percent.