New Graduation Record Set At University of Arkansas

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – A recent class of University of Arkansas students have set a new record.

Those who began as freshman during fall 2010 had a six-year graduation rate of more than 64 percent, which is six percentage points more than the 2006 class,  according to a University of Arkansas study.

The fall 2010 group also had a four-year graduation rate of more than 42 percent and five-year rate of more than 60 percent. University faculty said those numbers are also record breaking, and represent the quality of a college or university.

“The university identified the graduation rate as a problem several years ago – and a problem we could correct,” Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said. “We began putting programs and student services in place to help students achieve their academic goals, and obviously these are paying off… Advancing student success is the first of our guiding priorities, additional efforts are underway and I expect to see major improvements in the future.”

Faculty predict that students who began during fall 2012 may also set a record. The four-year graduation rate for those particular students is more than 47 percent – almost five points higher than the 2010 group.

A contributing factor of the success is thought to be on-campus living, and the chancellor said this is a major reason why he’s seeking to have two new residence halls built.

Also, financial aid is thought to be a success factor. More than 70 percent of students who didn’t need financial aid graduated in six years.

“The cost of attending the university has a major impact on our lower income students,” Steinmetz. “This is why getting more need-based scholarships is a prime goal of Campaign Arkansas. We want to be sure all of our qualified students receive the support they deserve to help them graduate.”

The six-year graduation rate has significantly increased for each college at the campus. The College of Education graduation rate rose the most, jumping about 8.5 percent since 2007.