As part of its ongoing efforts to increase degree completion, APLU named California State University, Fresno; Cleveland State University; Montana State University; the University of California, Riverside; and Wayne State University as finalists for its 2016 Project Degree Completion Award. The annual prize works to identify, recognize, and reward institutions that employ innovative approaches to improve retention and degree completion. One of the five finalists will be named the 2016 Project Degree Completion Award winner Sunday, November 13 in Austin, Texas during the APLU Annual Meeting. In this fourth part of a five-part series, APLU profiles University of California, Riverside and its Graduation Rate Task Force.
The University of California, Riverside takes pride in its near-equal graduation rates of students from each of the four major racial-ethnic groups in California, as well as near-equal rates for Pell Grant-eligible and non-Pell-eligible students.
In 2010-11, the campus had a four-year graduation rate of 42 percent and a six-year graduation rate of 66 percent. The campus convened a Graduation Rate Task Force in June 2013 to address concerns about these low completion rates. The Task Force set an ambitious goal to improve four- and six-year graduation rates by 15 percent for the class of 2021 and made 37 recommendations to achieve that goal. These recommendations included some obvious improvements, such as institutionalizing enrollment modeling and leveraging summer to provide courses students needed to graduate, as well as less ones like asking departments to review and streamline where possible their upper division requirements and developing a campus-wide finish-in-four campaign.
The vice provost for undergraduate education was charged with implementing the recommendations of the Task Force. A few new recommendations were added to the implementation plan, such as revamping of the introductory mathematics curriculum and instruction, as the campus leadership responded to new opportunities. The campus has also developed new student success programs and tools for advisors to address the needs of students at risk for non-completion.
The efforts to improve graduation rates have shown positive results. Four-year graduation rates in 2015 were 53 percent, and six-year graduation rates were 73 percent – up 11 percent and 7 percent, respectively from four years earlier.
Learn more about the other 2016 Project Degree Completion Award finalists.