Over Half of UL System Graduates Not Counted in Graduation Rate

BATON ROUGE - Analysis of University of Louisiana System data reveals 52 percent of students who completed a degree at one of the eight UL System universities last year did not count in its nationally recognized graduation rate.  Specifically, 40 percent of graduates did not fit the definition for the graduation rate measurement, and 12 percent took longer than six years to complete their degree.

The following is a breakdown of the 2009-10 undergraduate completer data by campus:

Campus

2009-10 Undergraduate Completers

Did not Meet IPEDS Graduation Rate Definition

%

Met IPEDS Graduate Rate Definition But Graduated Longer than 150% of Time

%

Grambling

726

334

46%

60

8%

Louisiana Tech

1,354

478

35%

44

3%

McNeese

1,127

380

34%

181

16%

Nicholls

1,070

393

37%

203

19%

Northwestern

1,319

690

52%

163

12%

Southeastern

1,947

877

45%

247

13%

UL Lafayette

2,138

740

35%

286

13%

UL Monroe

1,091

424

39%

148

14%

TOTAL

10,772

4,316

40%

1,332

12%

"This reinforces our position that while still an important measurement, a graduation rate does not tell a complete picture of student success at our universities," said UL System President Randy Moffett.

The national standard graduation rate measurement as collected by the national Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), known as the IPEDS graduation rate, is a very prescriptive measurement of first-time, full-time freshmen entering college in the Fall and graduating from the same institution within 150 percent of time (six years for a four-year degree and three years for a two-year degree).  The measurement does not capture part-time students, transfer students or students beginning college in the Spring or Summer.

"Gone are the days when most students entered college immediately from high school and graduated from the same institution in four years.  Many students today are older, commuting to school, holding down multiple jobs and transferring between institutions.  Our universities are doing a good job of graduating these students as evidenced by our completion rates," said Moffett.

On average, the UL System awards over 12,000 degrees each year.  The latest comparable graduation data (2008-09) shows the UL System awarded 45 percent of all Louisiana diplomas and 54 percent of the state's baccalaureate and graduate degrees. 

"We are still committed to raising graduation rates.  However, in a state ranked almost last in educational attainment with only 20 percent of adults holding a Bachelor's degree or higher, every degree awarded has merit," said Moffett.

-ULS-

EIGHT UNIVERSITIES STRONG: The University of Louisiana System is the largest higher education system in the state enrolling over 82,500 students at Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Contact: Cami Geisman
225.219.0270  |  Cami.Geisman@la.gov

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