June 4, 2009
A recent study by the American Enterprise Institute (with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — “Diplomas and Dropouts” shows the UW’s six-year graduation rate at 75%, well ahead of the state average of 59%. You can read a good story on the study in the Seattle Times. According to the article, researchers tracking graduation rates say better data is needed:
Hilary Pennington, the director of postsecondary success and special initiatives at the Gates Foundation, said federal data sets in higher education are inadequate and need to start accounting for part-time and transfer students.
That said, the report does show you can have similar institutions with “really incredibly different outcomes,” Pennington said.
“We are very interested in the obvious next question: What is it that the good ones are doing, and the poor-performing ones are not doing?” she said.
For Washington public universities, a key question is how budget cuts — which are likely to reduce course options — may make it harder for students to finish their degrees. Expect this issues to gain a higher profile in coming years.