Feb. 7, 2008
UI four-year graduation rate continues to improve
University of Iowa efforts to help undergraduate students graduate in four years are having increasing success, according to a report presented this week at the February meeting of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.
Some 41.7 percent of the entering freshman class of 2003 were able to graduate in four years, compared to about 33 percent before 1995, the year the four-year guaranteed graduation program began, the report shows. Since then, the four-year graduation rate has climbed steadily, as has enrollment in the plan.
UI students who elect to participate in Iowa's four-year graduation plan work closely with advisors to ensure that degree requirements are met and appropriate course sequencing is followed. An agreement, which is usually signed in the student's first weeks at Iowa, holds the student and the university responsible for a series of clearly defined actions. For example, the university must ensure that classes are available to fulfill the student's graduation requirements, and the student may not change majors. If the student follows the provisions of the four-year plan, she or he will earn a diploma in four years or the university will provide a remedy per the agreement.
At present, 75 percent of incoming freshmen enroll in the four-year plan.
"The plan works because it encourages students to plan better and encourages us to study our processes and to remove many barriers to timely graduation," says Lola Lopes, interim UI provost.
"We are very proud of the progress we've made in our four-year graduation rate," says Lopes. "The national focus now has moved to the six-year rate which is mostly a measure of attrition -- whether or not students graduate from the schools where they started. The four-year rate measures speed as well as attrition: how efficiently our students move toward graduation."
In 2006, Iowa started offering a "2+2" Guaranteed Graduation Plan tailored to work with each of the community colleges in Iowa. At present, there are about 160 students enrolled.
"Our 2+2 partnerships with the community colleges give Iowa students the opportunity to begin their study at a community college and be guaranteed of graduation from the University of Iowa four years after they start their studies," says Tom Rocklin, vice provost.
In the future, Lopes says, the UI also hopes to offer in a 2+2 format its two off-campus degrees, Bachelor of Liberal Studies and Bachelor of Applied Studies.
For detailed information about the four-year plan, see http://www.uiowa.edu/web/advisingcenter/fouryeargraduationplan.htm.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500