AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin graduated a higher percentage of students on time in 2016 than ever before, with 60.9 percent earning their degrees in four years or less.
This represents an increase of 3.1 percentage points compared with the previous year, and 10.3 percentage points since 2011 when the university made raising graduation rates a priority. The university’s goal is to raise the four-year graduation rate to 70 percent by 2017.
This data comes from the preliminary enrollment report conducted by the university after the 12th day of class each fall.
The university also saw increases in Hispanic and African American enrollment in its freshman class and welcomed 8,719 first-time freshmen this fall, the largest incoming class in its history. Overall enrollment at the university remained steady at 51,334 because 81.2 percent of students graduated in six years or less, an increase of 1.5 percentage points compared with the previous year.
“Making sure our students from all backgrounds graduate on time is critical to helping them achieve success and keeping down the costs of a college education. I commend all the students who worked hard to stay on track, and everyone at the university who contributed to better serve the education of our students. We are also increasing diversity on campus, especially in light of the successful case in the U.S. Supreme Court, and the university’s upcoming Diversity Action Plan will help us make progress with this important priority,” said President Gregory L. Fenves.
Other findings include:
●Among incoming freshmen, the representation of Hispanic students increased to 2,079, or 23.8 percent of the class.
●Among incoming freshmen, the number of African American students (those who identify themselves as “Black only” or “Black – two or more, excluding Hispanic”) increased to 442.
●The five-year graduation rate increased to 79.9 percentage points, an increase of 2.9 percentage points compared with the previous year.
●The university received 47,511 freshman applications this year, an increase of 9 percent over the previous year.
●Test scores for newly enrolled students remain highly competitive, with an average SAT equivalent score of 1299.
Persistence rates, the percentage of students who stay in school year to year, are also a critical indicator of progress. The Class of 2017, which is entering its senior year this fall, was the first class to fully participate in student success programming that provides academic and peer support students need to graduate on time. It set a record, with 85.2 percent of students continuing to pursue their degrees after three years.
“Our efforts during the past few years are making a difference for our students. Our student success programs help connect our students with resources and communities early on. These connections enable students to take advantage of the wide range of resources available on this campus. When students graduate on time, we know they enter the workforce better prepared, start earning income sooner and incur less debt. We’re going to stay fully focused to build on this momentum,” explained Maurie McInnis, executive vice president and provost at UT Austin.
The report is prepared by the Office of Institutional Reporting, Research and Information Systems (IRRIS) and the Office of Enrollment Analytics at UT Austin. Final enrollment data will be published in October.