The University of Iowa will be the first state supported school to pass a significant milestone in student retention. A little more than 51-percent of U-Iowa students who graduated last year completed their studies in four years. Andrew Beckett, is the assistant dean of the University College at the Iowa City school.
Beckett says the graduation rate is the result of multiple initiatives by the school to retain students and help them graduate in four years. “For instance, we call students who have not registered for the next semester, we follow up with students who received delinquent grades or who are skipping courses,” Beckett says.
He says other steps include first year seminars, housing first-year students in learning communities grouped by academic or personal interests. “We’ve tried to create a safety net where we are picking up on signals of behaviors of student that might indicate they are not doing well,” Beckett says. Beckett says the benefits of graduating in four years can add up. “Financially, it’s another year of tuition, but I think what students don’t often think about is that opportunity cost,” Beckett says. “Not only are they in school another year, that’s another year they’ve lost where they’re not being employed full time. That’s a year they’ve lost with perhaps going to graduate school.”
The other two schools will show an increase toward their goal. Iowa State University will report a 40.7-percent four-year graduation rate, and the University of Northern Iowa will report a 37.6-percent rate, according to the school’s Registrar offices. The three state schools will report their student retention and graduation rates to the Board of Regents at their meeting in February.