UA reports record graduation rate

65.5 percent of 2012 freshmen obtained degree, school says

Posted: September 8, 2018 at 3:04 a.m.
Updated: September 8, 2018 at 3:04 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The six-year graduation rate at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville increased to a record-high 65.5 percent, according to data provided by the university.

The rise reflects the graduation rate of students entering in fall 2012. Comprehensive data on graduation rates from other schools is not yet available for the 2012 cohort.

The university's four-year graduation rate was 50.2 percent for the 2014 student cohort.

The increase follows a dip in the graduation rate reported last year by UA, with a six-year graduation rate of 61.5 percent for the 2011 cohort of students. The year before, for incoming 2010 students, the graduation rate was 64.5 percent.

Chancellor Joe Steinmetz cited both university efforts and student preparation before arriving on campus as factors in the graduation rate.

"I think one of the things that has helped is we've seen an increase in the ACT score and the preparation of our students that come here," Steinmetz said.

He also noted efforts by UA to boost retention, with work done not only on academics but also to provide financial aid and wellness resources.

"I think we've done a lot more over the last, I'd say, three or four years, about concentrating on the success of the students to get that rate," Steinmetz said.

He said the university is working to boost need-based aid, "though we have a long way to go."

"Students leave here when they have anxiety and depression and other issues that are related to their welfare, so we've put a lot more resources in that area as well," Steinmetz said.

The most recent UA graduation rate was calculated based on a cohort of 4,546 students -- with some additional students excluded for reasons like military service or death -- with 2,978 graduates, UA spokesman Mark Rushing said.

Among peer schools, few have announced graduation rates for the 2012 cohort.

For students entering in 2011, the University of Missouri reported a six-year graduation rate of 68 percent.

The University of Mississippi reported a six-year graduation rate of 60.1 percent for the 2011 cohort, according to its website.

Tennessee had a six-year graduation rate of 70.2 percent for an incoming fall 2011 class of 4,188 first-time, full-time freshmen, a university spokesman said last year.

Metro on 09/08/2018