New metrics illustrate UW student success
The amount of time it takes UW–Madison students to earn their degrees has decreased to 4.13 years — the lowest on record, according to the Office of Academic Planning and Institutional Research.
Students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are setting new records in reducing their time to degree and boosting retention and graduation rates, according to new statistics released this week by the university’s Office of Academic Planning and Institutional Research.
The success in key university metrics is likely related to steps to improve academic advising, progress toward a timely degree, and career services and career advising, says UW–Madison Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf.
“These metrics are viewed as indicators of quality of the educational experience and represent a focus on student success by all of the faculty and staff who work with and teach undergraduates,” Mangelsdorf says. “Our faculty, staff and students have worked tremendously hard to achieve these outcomes.”
The success in metrics is likely related to steps to improve academic advising, progress toward a timely degree, and career services and career advising.
According to fall 2015 enrollment numbers, UW–Madison had a freshman-sophomore year retention rate of 95.8 percent, up from 95.3 percent the previous year. It is the third year in a row the university eclipsed a retention rate of more than 95 percent.
UW–Madison’s four-year graduation rate is 60.3 percent, up from last year’s previous high of 57.1 percent. The standard measure of a 6-year graduation rate of 85.1 percent is up from 84.8 percent — the first time in the university’s 167-year history that the rate has been above 85 percent.
The graduation rates compare favorably to those of other Association of American Universities public institutions, which had average four-year graduation rates of 57 percent and six-year rates of 78 percent last year.
The average time to degree, 4.13 years, is the lowest the university has on record. Last year’s time to degree figure was 4.16 years.
“This is a great trend for Wisconsin families who are concerned about the cost of earning a college degree,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “We work with students to identify majors early and put them on the path to their post-college careers.”
“We look forward to talking with state policymakers on how we can continue the positive trends and best serve the state of Wisconsin.”
“We’re proud of this progress. It has taken both effort and financial investment to achieve these results,” Mangelsdorf says. “We look forward to talking with state policymakers on how we can continue the positive trends and best serve the state of Wisconsin.”
UW–Madison conferred 6,902 bachelor’s degrees last academic year, an increase of more than 200 over the previous year. Among those receiving undergraduate degrees, 63 percent were Wisconsin residents, 11 percent were Minnesota residents (attending the UW under the reciprocity agreement with that state), and 26 percent were from other states or countries.
The university also conferred 2,134 master’s degrees and 855 Ph.D.s — the highest number of research doctorates awarded since 1971. The number of clinical doctorates/professional degrees (which include law, medical, veterinary and pharmacy degrees) was 651.
The total number of degrees awarded was 10,542. This is the fifth year the university has awarded more than 10,000, and the first year that it has exceeded the 10,500 mark.