Author: Jessica Gregory
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a finalist for the annual Degree Completion Award after reporting all time highs for both four year and six year graduation rates.
Presented by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), the award recognizes and congratulates universities for increasing student success through high degree completion rates and the number of degrees distributed. These universities are also evaluated on their ability to provide students with an accessible and quality education.
Institutions of higher education typically compare six year graduation rates for the national metric rather than four. UW-Madison, in comparison to other public research universities, is reporting far better rates.
Graduation rates at UW-Madison have increased in nearly every area, reports Academic Planning and Institutional Research. UW-Madison recorded a high last year with 88.6 percent of students graduating within six years, seven points above the national average. Surpassing 70 percent for the first time, UW-Madison's four year graduation rate was 71.2 percent for those who entered in 2016.
For the second consecutive year, the average time-to-degree for undergraduates was slightly less than four years.
For underrepresented domestic students of color, the six year graduation rate remained steady at 81.5 percent. The four year rate for this same group was recorded at 56.1 percent last year. While the four year rate met a new high, Chancellor Rebecca Blank recognizes that more must be done for students of color and low-income students.
“This university and its faculty and staff are working diligently every day to improve the experiences of students of color on this campus,” Blank says. “While this work is far from over, I'm encouraged by these latest figures and committed to making sure these positive trends continue.”
Undergraduates who receive financial aid from the federal Pell grant had their six year graduation rate stay level at 83 percent but its four year rate reached a high of 59 percent.
After only one year of serving as University of Wisconsin-Madison's Chancellor, in 2014, Rebecca Blank spearheaded reforms to assist students in achieving their graduation goals.
Areas that needed further assistance and resources were identified through research and analysis in addition to student feedback. The university and Chancellor Blank made efforts to uplift student success through improving academic and career advising, creating outlines for completing graduation requirements, increasing financial aid and addressing existing policy barriers.
In two weeks, the winner of the Degree Completion Award will be announced at the virtual APLU conference.
UW-Madison's application for the award can be accessed here.