Record Student Success
Enhancements to the learning environment at the University of Georgia have lifted measures of student success to record levels, and the recently announced Investing in Student Success Initiative will help continue that momentum for the benefit of our students.
The most recent data show that UGA’s retention rate—an early indicator of student success that quantifies the percentage of students who return for their sophomore year—is an extraordinary 96 percent. UGA’s retention rate places it among the nation’s very best universities; our 96 percent retention rate exceeds the 95 percent average for our highly selective aspirational institutions as well as the 90 percent average for our peer institutions.
Helping our students earn their degrees in a timely manner is a critical priority for two important reasons. First, it helps students and their families reduce the overall cost of their education. On a broader level, it helps ensure that our state and nation have the highly educated workforce that today’s knowledge economy demands. The most recent data show that a record 66 percent of UGA students earned their degrees within four years. For comparison, the average four-year graduation rates for our aspirational and peer institutions are 68 and 52 percent, respectively. UGA’s six-year graduation rate is also at a record level of 85 percent, which is just two percentage points behind our aspirational institutions and well ahead of the peer average of 75 percent.
UGA’s record levels of student success are the result of a concerted, campus-wide effort. Last year we completed a small class size hiring initiative that recruited 56 new faculty members to campus and has dramatically increased pass rates in challenging courses where students benefit from more personalized instruction. Other enhancements include the addition of 35 new academic advisors since 2015 and the opening of the Exploratory Center to help undecided students choose a major that’s right for them. This fall, we launched the Double Dawgs linked degree program, which gives students more than 100 opportunities to earn both a bachelor's degree and a master’s degree in five years or less.
Our retention and graduation rates place us among the nation’s very best public universities, and we are committed to giving our students unrivaled learning opportunities. To that end, President Morehead and I have launched an initiative to recruit 10 tenure-track faculty members, 10 lecturers and six academic advisors to support students in fields with rapid enrollment growth. These investments in student success will undoubtedly pay dividends for years to come, both for our students and for our state.