Why does it matter?
UNLV's four-year to six-year graduation rates have not shown significant change over the past decade. However, we have seen a slightly upward trend over the past year, going from 17.2 percent to 19.2 percent in the four-year graduation rate, and from 42.9 percent to 44.8 percent in the six-year graduation rate. Earning a four-year degree increases social mobility and reduces income inequalities, but earning some college credit without completing a degree puts students at an economic disadvantage. Tracking graduation rates shows our accountability to our students and demonstrates our students have a path toward progression of their degree objectives as well as the instruction and guidance to achieve them.
Where do we hope to see it go?
UNLV has a 2025 Top Tier goal of a six-year graduation rate of 50 percent, which would bring this student achievement metric in line with graduation rates for peer institutions. Considering our lowest rate was 39.2 percent, achieving 50 percent would show significant change.
What are we doing to get there?
Efforts to improve graduation rates include many of the same strategies and service enhancements implemented to address retention and progression. The university is, however, making more concerted efforts to work with the colleges to review and consider revising program curricula to support progression and completion, encouraging enrollment in 15 hours of credit per semester, offering more support to targeted populations of students, as well as seeking opportunities to remove barriers. For example, the university announced in September 2019 the new Tuition+ Award, which provides grants to help offset costs of tuition, fees and books to students who qualify.
How you can help?
We are beginning to see some encouraging signs from our efforts as graduation rates have been on the rise since 2014, and the university hit record highs of 19.2 percent four-year and 44.8 percent six-year graduation rates this year. You can assist by first, knowing your college’s and program’s current graduation rates, and engage in conversations with your colleagues about how to improve them. Colleges – deans, chairs and faculty – must maintain good collaboration with advising centers. It is also crucial for colleges to help students understand the importance of meeting regularly with their advisors to ensure they are on the right track and taking the appropriate courses to complete their major. Faculty follow-up of referrals to student support services in other units also helps students stay on course and attain their degrees. Colleges can also encourage faculty to participate in teaching workshops and webinars offered by the Faculty Center, and consider hosting college-level events or interest groups to promote best practices that support student learning. Faculty follow-up of referrals to student support services in other units also helps students stay on course and attain their degrees.