A study finds the University of Northern Iowa has such consistently high graduation rates, campus practices should be used as a model for institutions nationwide. John Hammang is director of special projects and development for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. He says U-N-I’s graduation rates have been both steady and exceptional. Hammang says U-N-I’s highest graduation rate was 66-point-5 percent in 2002 which was 25-points above the average for similar colleges and universities, adding, “That certainly attracted our attention.” Those numbers are for students graduating within six years — as he says the average student now takes five-and-a-half years to earn a degree. Hammang says the campus culture in Cedar Falls and the mindset of university leaders continue to help improve student success. Hammang says “The people on that campus believe that students can and should succeed. Not the ones they might have but the ones they actually have. They have an attitude that what they can do now can be done better tomorrow. They really believe that there needs to be high expectations for both student and faculty and staff, at the institution focused on student success.” He says U-N-I would be an effective national model, serving as an example to other universities. Hammang says U-N-I has created a culture where students are involved in a close network of campus ties in residence life, frequent faculty contact and a range of extracurricular activities. Hammang says “Culture is not something that you can pick up and move from one institution to the other, but what leaders can learn from U-N-I is the very kinds of things they have focused on, the paying attention to the students, capitalizing on the fact that Iowa students really do think education is their job while they’re in school, has paid big benefits for the institution and the students.” He says quality is more than admitting students with ever-higher S-A-T scores, “It clearly is about what institutions themselves do to ensure students get what they came for — a degree.”