According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “The 2013 6-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year degree-granting institution in fall 2007 was 59 percent. That is, 59 percent of first-time, full-time students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year institution in fall 2007 completed the degree at that institution by 2013.” These rates vary between institutions–the more selective the admissions process, the higher the graduation rate. At institutions that accept less than 25 percent of applicants, the graduation rate soars to 89 percent. The average rate for completion of community college credentials in six years is only 41 percent. Four-year graduation rates are, unsurprisingly, significantly lower.
Since colleges and universities across the country are battling low graduation rates, many are seeking solutions to encourage college completion, whether at a four-year college or a community college. Completion initiatives vary widely, ranging from a reduction in required credit hours to improved student support services, tutoring, and advising. There are a number of major organizations working to support completion initiatives across the country, as well as initiatives in-house in many community colleges and four-year colleges and universities.
It’s essential to remember that graduation rates aren’t really just numbers. Those numbers represent people who, for whatever reason, chose to drop out and not complete their college education. YuJa offers tools to help your institution maximize student retention and reduce the number of students who fall between the cracks and leave their college educations behind. It’s reasonable to assume that students who start college plan to finish; so, what happens that turns a student from a hopeful freshman to a college dropout? Conversely, what keeps students attending until graduation?
Maximize Graduation Rates
Smart strategies can help maximize student graduation rates. These are practical, affordable solutions that can be implemented quickly to support students at all levels of learning.
- Provide the tools for students to study, including study skills training. Use lecture capture technology to enable students to review lectures, and reduce issues caused by poor attendance. Create online courses to teach study skills–students who might not attend in person may be willing to watch videos to improve their skills. Students that succeed academically are less likely to dropout.
- Maximize access to faculty and staff. Institutions that employ a higher percentage of full-time faculty and staff have higher completion rates; making both full and part-time staff more accessible to students may provide additional benefits. Online office hours are an easy and practical way to encourage interaction and create personal connections. The same online office hours tools can make adviser and mentor relationships more practical for both traditional and non-traditional students.
- Spending more per student, particularly on academics, increases student retention and graduation. For many institutions, this may be less than practical; however, with online learning and lecture capture, you can offer a personal learning experience to many more students with limited additional expense.
“Fast Facts.” National Center for Education Statistics. Web. Accessed on 1 May 2016.
“National College Completion Initiatives.” American Association of Community Colleges. Web. Accessed on 1 May 2016.
Durkin, Jeff. “Factors Affecting Community College Completion Rates.” Linn Benton College. Web. Accessed on 1 May 2016.