Florida four-year university graduation rate on pace to reach 65 percent as tuition rates stay low

by | Sep 14, 2022

 

  • Florida’s collective four-year university graduation rate increased this year, with the metric on pace to reach 65 percent by 2025 
  • As graduation rates improve, public university tuition rates at Florida’s higher-education institutions remain among the lowest in the nation 
  • Initiatives to further improve the graduation rate include improved student financial resources, increasing the number of seats or sections in high-demand courses, and encouraging students to complete fifteen credit hours per semester

Florida’s four-year university graduation rate continues to climb, with a pace to reach 65 percent by 2025, according to higher-education officials. Meanwhile, the state’s university tuition rates remain among the most affordable in America.

Nine State University System institutions showed increases in graduation rates, and seven institutions met their yearly goals. The University of West Florida, Florida International University, and the University of Florida had the most significant year-over-year growth.

Additionally, six institutions have seen year-over-year increases for five consecutive years, according to Dr. Christy England, Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs.

The four-year graduation rate for new students who don’t transfer school has increased by 11 percent since 2017 when just 48 percent of those students completed their coursework within four years.

During a Board of Governors meeting, Chairman Alan Levine noted that for the fourth year in a row, the average cost of a bachelor’s degree decreased for all 12 state institutions, coinciding with the collectively improved four-year graduation rates in 2022.

“If we’re talking to the Legislature, this is what you look at when you talk about a return on investment,” said Levine. “Because the efficiency of throughput creates much more access for students.”

England noted that strategies to further improve graduation include improving student financial resources, increasing the number of seats or sections in high-demand courses, encouraging students to complete 15 credit hours per semester, and offering additional support services.

England also explained that the original institution does not count a student as a graduate if that student transfers to another institution. For example, if a student attended the University of Florida (UF) for two years before transferring to the University of South Florida (USF) to finish their degree, UF would recognize the individual as a student, but not a graduate, while USF can enter the student in its graduation statistics.

Florida State University (FSU) President Richard McCullough attributed FSU’s positive four-year graduation rate to the widespread and easily accessible advising available to students. McCullough also mentioned support for first-generation students playing a role in student retention.

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