Univer­sity of Arkansas sees de­crease in six-year grad­u­a­tion rate

Texarkana Gazette - - STATE -

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.—The Univer­sity of Arkansas has re­ported a drop in its six-year grad­u­a­tion rate for the first time since 2013.

Fig­ures show the grad­u­a­tion rate for stu­dents en­ter­ing in fall 2011 fell to 61.5 per­cent, com­pared with the 64.5 per­cent rate for the pre­vi­ous year’s fresh­man class.

That’s the low­est sixyear grad­u­a­tion rate since 2007’s in­com­ing fresh­men, the Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette re­ported .

Ac­cord­ing to state data, the univer sity typ­i­cally has the high­est grad­u­a­tion rate among four-year pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties in Arkansas. Statewide num­bers aren’t yet avail­able for the six-year grad­u­a­tion rate for stu­dents who were fresh­men in 2011. But the Univer­sity of Arkansas’ most re­cent grad­u­a­tion rate trailed those of some peer schools in nearby states such as Mis­souri, Ten­nessee and Texas.

The univer­sity doesn’t know why more stu­dents from the 2011 fresh­man class failed to earn de­grees, said Jim Cole­man, the school’s provost.

That class had more than 4,400 first-time, full-time de­gree-seek­ing stu­dents.

Cole­man said the statis­tic for that fresh­man class is an out­lier com­pared to “more re­cent co­horts,” cit­ing data for in­com­ing stu­dents in 2012 that show nearly 63 per­cent have earned de­grees within five years.

“So, it ap­pears that not only was the drop an anom­aly, but that ef­forts taken to im­prove grad­u­a­tion suc­cess have been work­ing,” he said.

“And, with our con­tin­ued build­ing on th­ese ef­forts, we are look­ing for­ward to new record grad­u­a­tion rates in the fu­ture.”

Univer­sity spokesman Mark Rush­ing listed new plans that were de­vel­oped this year as ex­am­ples “of our in­creased fo­cus on as­sist­ing stu­dents with fi­nan­cial need to help en­sure they stay in school and grad­u­ate.”

The univer­sity has also worked to im­prove aca­demic ad­vis­ing and per­son­al­ized on­line in­for­ma­tion sys­tems to bet­ter out­line de­gree re­quire­ments and show who to reach out to for ad­vis­ing help, said Trevor Fran­cis, the univer­sity’s as­so­ciate vice provost and di­rec­tor of stu­dent suc­cess.

The grad­u­a­tion rate for stu­dents en­ter­ing in fall 2011 fell to 61.5 per­cent, com­pared with the 64.5 per­cent rate for the pre­vi­ous year’s fresh­man class.

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