Brittany Alana Davis
PRESS RELEASE: Graduation and retention rates up at state universities
TALLAHASSEE— Student graduation and retention rates are continuing to improve at Florida’s state universities with an increasing number of students studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, according to a recent report by the Board of Governors.
Those are among dozens of trends highlighted in the Board’s 2012-2013 Annual Accountability Report, which compiles data from all State University System institutions and tracks system changes from year-to-year. See a summary of the report here.
As a whole, the report shows that universities are on the upswing from years past, graduating more students in a timely manner, producing more diplomas in high-demand fields, bringing in more federal research dollars and securing more patents for inventions.
Among the most notable findings, the State University System increased its six-year graduation rate (the national standard of measurement) to 68 percent, up by 4 percent compared to the 2003-2009 cohort. Universities also saw a slight increase in student retention rates, suggesting that institutions are successfully supporting students early in their college years.
“This is our fifth year of producing this report, and the data are getting more useful every time,” said Jan Ignash, vice chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs for the State University System. “We’re now able to track trends and compare ourselves with other large university systems.”
Added Ignash, “Because of the number of students we serve, these are stubborn numbers. Even a change of 1 percentage point is very significant.”
The report also highlights some challenges, including lagging graduation rates at certain universities and a systemwide struggle to reduce the number of students with excess hours, which are costly for students and delay their progression into the workforce.
Those challenges are addressed by the Board of Governors’ proposed Performance Funding Model, said Marshall Criser III, chancellor of the State University System.
“A fundamental piece of the Board’s 10-metric model is to reward excellence and improvement,” Criser said. “We will continue to work with our universities and Florida's elected leaders to deliver value in higher education.”
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Facts about the State University System of Florida and the Board of Governors
The State University System of Florida is a constitutional body led by the 17-member Board of Governors. The system has 12 universities and more than 335,000 students, making it the second-largest public university system in the nation. Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and managing the system’s coordination and operation. The Board appoints a Chancellor who serves as the system’s chief executive. For more, visit www.flbog.edu.