GRADUATION RATES INCREASE AT UC, UNDERREPRESENTED STUDENTS SEE STRONG GAINS
UC graduation and persistence rates are at an all-time high, improving over the past decade even as UC accommodated unprecedented enrollment growth.
According to an annual report prepared by the University of California, graduation rates increased steadily through Fall 2002, the most recent period available, outpacing national averages and showing particularly strong gains for underrepresented minority students (African Americans, Latino/Chicanos and American Indians).
Within six years of entering as freshman, 77.9 percent of UC students had graduated, up from 72.1 percent for those who entered in 1986. Underrepresented minority students showed even faster growth, with graduation rates after six years increasing to 69.1 percent, up from 56.1 percent for those who entered in 1986.
These graduation rates tracked freshmen as they made their way through UC. The group referenced above entered UC in Fall 1996 and graduated by the end of the 2001-02 academic year. These numbers are the most recent year for which data are available.
The report also shows the pace of gains has picked up in recent years. Within six years of entering as freshman in 1994, 75.2 percent of students graduated. After two years of increasing graduation rates, the most recent figure now stands at 77.9 percent. Underrepresented minority graduation rates stood at 63.3 percent in 1994, and increased to 69.1 percent over the next two years.
Transfer students showed strong gains as well, with 79.6 percent of transfer students graduating UC after four years, up from 73.5 percent in 1986 and 77.1 percent in 1994. Underrepresented transfer student graduation rates increased to 74.8 percent, up from 59.6 percent in 1986 and 69 percent in 1994.
Graduation rates for transfers track an entering class for four years because they arrive at UC with class credits already completed. The group referenced above entered UC in Fall 1997 and graduated by the end of 2000-01, the most recent transfer class UC has assessed.
In addition, UC persistence rates have been steadily rising. As of 2001, 92.4 percent of freshman students persist into their second year at UC, up from 88.9 percent in 1986. Transfer students also work hard during their first year, with 92.4 percent completing their studies and continuing at UC, up from 85.9 percent in1986.
Persistence rates for underrepresented students continuing through to their second year at UC increased from 84.5 percent in 1986 to 89.3 percent in 2001 for freshman and from 79.9 percent in 1986 to 90.3 percent in 2001 for transfers.
“Students who enroll at UC are well-prepared academically and highly motivated,” said Dennis Galligani, Associate Vice President for Student Academic Services. “We are pleased to see them concentrating on their education and graduating on time.”
UC’s graduation and persistence rates are also outpacing national averages. The Chronicle of Higher Education found that the average six-year graduation rate for freshmen who entered NCAA Division I universities in 1996 was 59 percent. At UC, 77.9 percent of freshmen who entered in Fall 1996 had graduated by 2001-02.
The average time to degree by academic calendar year is also improving at UC. The average time to degree for first-time freshmen entering UC in Fall 1995 was 4.2 calendar years, down from 4.4 in 1986. For transfer students, the average time to degree for students entering UC in Fall 1995 was 2.4 calendar years, down from 2.6 in 1986.
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