AUSTIN, Texas — More students than ever are graduating from The University of Texas at Austin in four years.
The Class of 2018 set a record for the university’s four-year graduation rate at 69.8 percent, up from 65.7 percent in 2017, which was the highest four-year graduation rate of any public university in Texas during the past academic year.
The university also welcomed the largest incoming class in UT Austin’s history, 8,960 first-time freshmen compared with the previous high of 8,719 in 2016.
The increased size of the freshman class results in part from the improvement in graduation rates, because timely graduation creates more space for new students. In 2011, the university made increasing graduation rates a priority and, in 2012, set a goal to increase the four-year graduation rate from 52 to 70 percent. As a result, the university has been able to graduate more students annually and expand the size of its incoming freshman class by more than 1,000 students since 2012.
UT improved graduation rates through new student success programs and innovative approaches to analyzing student data.
The university has made especially noteworthy improvements in the four-year graduation rates of first-generation college students and students eligible for Pell grants, which are available to low-income students.
In 2018, 61.5 percent of first-generation students graduated in four years compared with just 40.9 percent in 2012. Similarly, 61 percent of Pell-eligible students graduated in four years in 2018 compared with just 40.3 percent in 2012. During the same period, four-year graduation rates also increased for Hispanic students (to 63.7 percent from 42.9 percent in 2012) and African American students (to 58.4 percent from 36.6 percent in 2012).
“The hard work of our students is inspiring,” said President Gregory L. Fenves. “UT has been able to narrow gaps in completing a degree that have persisted for too long for low-income students and students of color. Giving students more opportunity to graduate while increasing the number of students UT educates exemplifies our core mission as a flagship university serving the people of Texas.”
The new data on graduation rates comes from the preliminary enrollment report that the university conducts after the 12th day of class each fall.
Other findings from the report include:
- The university’s six-year graduation rate is 82.8 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percent from 2017.
- Total university enrollment rose to 51,832, a 0.6 percent increase from 2017.
- Hispanic undergraduate enrollment rose from 23.0 to 23.4 percent of the student body.
- Undergraduate enrollment for black students (those who identify themselves as “Black only” or “Black – two or more, excluding Hispanic”) rose from 4.8 to 5.0 percent of the student body.
- The percentage of black first-time freshmen remained at 5.4 percent.
- The percentage of Hispanic first-time freshmen declined slightly, from 24.6 to 24.1 percent, and the number of Hispanic freshmen increased.
“UT Austin continues to see significant progress in improving graduation rates for all students. We work to support every student and make sure they have the opportunity to graduate in four years. We will also support them in their next steps, helping to prepare them for successful careers after graduation, whether that be a job, graduate or professional school, or other pursuits,” said Maurie McInnis, executive vice president and provost. “Our entire campus has worked hard to achieve these results, and I want to give particular credit to our students who have focused on their academic goals and changed the culture.”