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Graduation Rates: Whose Success Do They Measure? Diana Natalicio, President The University of Texas at El Paso.

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Presentation on theme: "Graduation Rates: Whose Success Do They Measure? Diana Natalicio, President The University of Texas at El Paso."— Presentation transcript:

1 Graduation Rates: Whose Success Do They Measure? Diana Natalicio, President The University of Texas at El Paso

2 What is the mission of regional public universities? To provide opportunities for all talented and motivated students in a region, especially those whose access to higher education has traditionally been limited, to pursue their educational aspirations. To educate a high-quality workforce to meet regional, state and national needs, especially in key fields. To contribute to the economic development and quality of life of the region through the creation and application of knowledge.

3 Fulfilling that mission at UTEP, UTEP provides opportunity for and educates thousands of students who contribute to the workforce and quality of life of the El Paso region.

4 UTEP awarded 2,883 degrees in

5 So, what’s the issue? Although UTEP ranks 3 rd among all universities in the U.S. in the total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanics and 5 th nationally in the number of master’s degrees awarded to Hispanics, UTEP’s graduation rates are reported to be low (e.g., Tier 4 range in US News). *Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, June 2005 Ranked 2nd in Biological & Biomedical Sciences Health Professions & Clinical Sciences Ranked 4th in Engineering Business, Management & Marketing Physical Science Ranked 1st in Biology Physical Sciences Ranked 2nd in Mathematics English Language and Literature Ranked 5th in Engineering Ranked 6th in Education Ranked 7th in Business 70% of UTEP’s graduates are not counted in the calculation of graduation rates.

6 Not counted are Transfer students Part-time students Returning students Those who enroll in spring semester So, who is counted in calculating graduation rates? Only a student who is First-time freshman Enrolled Full-time Seeking a Degree Enrolled in the fall semester =“FTFTF”

7 All Students All Graduates FTFTF And how are graduation rates calculated? Number of FTFTF starting in Fall semester of given year who graduate in 4, 5, or 6 years Number of Full-time First-time Freshmen starting in Fall semester (FTFTF) of same given year Graduation Rate ÷ = ÷ FTFTF

8 “EXPRESS TRAIN” UNIVERSITY “COMMUTER TRAIN” UNIVERSITY Year 1 Year 2Year 3 Year 4 Semester 1Semester 2Semester 3Semester 4…Semester 8-12… Class of 2010 “FTFTF’s”

9 “EXPRESS TRAIN” UNIVERSITY Year 1Year 2Year 3 Year 4 Are all these entering students counted? Yes, because they are all FTFTFs! Class of 2010 “FTFTF’s”

10 “COMMUTER TRAIN” UNIVERSITY Semester 1Semester 2Semester 3Semester 4…Semester 8-12… Are all these entering students counted? No, only those who are FTFTFs!

11 The Lost Origins of Graduation Rates Established in 1992 by the NCAA to monitor the academic performance of student-athletes. Later adopted by U.S. Department of Education as a measure of academic performance of all students, despite its obvious mismatch with the enrollment patterns of large numbers of today’s university students. Has become one of the “gold standards” by which all institutions are measured.

12 Graduation rates mislead us all As currently defined, graduation rates… ignore large numbers of students—all the “non- FTFTFs”—who successfully complete degrees at universities across the country. At UTEP 70% of all graduates are not counted.

13 Graduation rates mislead us all As currently defined, graduation rates… severely devalue the performance and societal benefit of institutions that serve many “non-FTFTFs,” especially large public universities in urban settings.

14 Graduation rates mislead us all As currently defined, graduation rates… understate the success of all universities by counting as “drop-outs” all FTFTFs who do not graduate from the institution of initial enrollment, even if they successfully graduate “on time” from another institution.

15 Graduation rates mislead us all As currently defined, graduation rates… reinforce an outdated profile of students and the universities that serve them.

16 Graduation rates mislead us all As currently defined, graduation rates… create a widespread false perception that universities, especially those that serve many “non-FTFTFs,” are a poor public investment.

17 Graduation rates mislead us all Ignore large numbers of students Severely devalue the performance and societal benefit of large public universities in urban settings Understate the success of all universities Reinforce an outdated profile of students and the universities that serve them Create a widespread false perception that universities are a poor public investment

18 For more information… Diana Natalicio, President The University of Texas at El Paso (915)


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