Universities push for higher 4-year grad rates

students juggling

MPR’s Tim Post has a story on the push by the U, as well as Minnesota colleges and universities, to encourage students to graduate in four years.

That four-year graduation rate has become a key performance indicator in higher education. Just under half of the U students in the Twin Cities graduate in that amount of time — about average in the Big 10 — and the U wants to boost that figure to 60 percent by 2012.

At Minnesota’s seven state universities, as of 2007 that four-year rate was just above 20 percent. At Minnesota’s private non-profit schools, 64 percent of students graduate in four years.

The U has one eyebrow-raiser of a tactic, as Post reports:

The University of Minnesota is considering a plan that could mean higher tuition for students who have the credits to graduate, but don’t seem ready leave campus.

It wouldn’t affect those who don’t have the funds to graduate more quickly — just those who can graduate but choose not to. U officials say that’s a small number.

As U Provost Tom Sullivan tells Post:

“There are very strong academic reasons for having the expectation of graduating in four years, there are significant financial implications to graduating in four years. The institution’s own reputation can be affected by students not graduating in a timely way.”