UC Riverside Recognized for Graduation Rate Success by Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

UCR named a finalist for the 2016 “Project Degree Completion” Award

In Spring 2015, UCR’s four-year graduation rates were 53 percent, and six-year graduation rates were 73 percent.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – The University of California, Riverside was named a national finalist for the 2016 Project Degree Completion Award, which recognizes institutions that employ innovative approaches to improve retention and degree completion.

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UCR six-year graduation rates compared to national averages (2013-2015).

The award is administered by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), which, together with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), has enlisted 500 member universities and colleges to pledge to increase degrees granted by an annual total across those institutions from 14.6 million in 2012 to 18.4 million by 2025.

“Entering college and pursuing a degree is more important than ever before,” said APLU President Peter McPherson in announcing the finalists for the award. “But the critical importance of completing a degree is too often overlooked. Raising degree completion rates remains key to achieving our national goal of 60 percent of adult Americans holding a bachelor’s degree by 2025.

UCR graduation rates for first-time freshmen by financial aid status.

UCR graduation rates for first-time freshmen by financial aid status.

“Meeting that goal will require increasing not only the number of students entering college, but just as important, the number graduating. UC Riverside and the other four 2016 Project Degree Completion Award finalists have made great strides in improving student retention and degree completion – and we’re thrilled to share their experiences so other institutions can replicate their approaches and results.”

The other finalists for the 2016 Project Degree Completion are: California State University, Fresno; Cleveland State University; Montana State University, and Wayne State University.

“UCR has received national attention for providing access to a quality education to generations of diverse students in California and beyond,” said UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox. “Through dedicated work by faculty, staff, and students, we have achieved near-equal graduation rates for undergraduates from each of the four major racial-ethnic groups in California, as well as near-equal rates for students who are, and are not, Pell Grant eligible. On behalf of our community, I thank the APLU and AASCU for this important recognition.”

Wilcox noted that, in the 2010-11 academic year, UCR had an overall four-year graduation rate of 42 percent and a six-year graduation rate of 66 percent. Thanks to concerted institutional effort, four-year graduation rates in Spring 2015 were 53 percent, and six-year graduation rates were 73 percent, up 11 percent and 7 percent, respectively, from four years before.

UCR graduation rates for first-time freshmen by ethnicity.

UCR graduation rates for first-time freshmen by ethnicity.

UCR is a founding member of the University Innovation Alliance, a group of large universities that piloted several programs to improve outcomes for students, including:

  • Creation of a campus-wide Graduation Rate Task force to implement initiatives and track progress.
  • Establishment of learning communities that create small cohorts of first-year students.
  • Enrollment modeling and use of summer quarter to better provide courses needed to graduate,
  • Re-engineering of the introductory mathematics curriculum and instruction.
  • Creation of supplemental instruction programs to augment class time.
  • Creation of a campus wide “Finish in Four” campaign.
  • Building new tools for advisors to check on progress toward degree for individual students.
  • Establishment of a one-stop shopping location for student services such as registration, financial aid, and business services.

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