This article explores college retention in an open university during the COVID-19 pandemic period. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of coursework changes and the college retention in distance higher education institutions during the COVID-19 crisis. This study is designed to compare coursework and retention before and after COVID-19. Using t-test, cross tab analysis, logistic regression, student data (44,389 cases from 2019 and 43,748 cases from 2020) from a national open university are analyzed. All coursework variables are significantly different between 2019 and 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, students shows better academic performance and higher retention. Students in 2020 get higher grade and more credits than students in 2019. More students in 2020 continue next semester than before. Among impact factors for retention, the most influential factor was final exam in 2019 and grade in 2020. Based on the output of the study, institutional response to COVID-19 and college retention were discussed.