Graduation Rates, Progress, and Attrition

University of Washington Study of Attrition and Retention 2006. E. Pitre, C. Beyer, S. Lemire, and C. Snyder.(1,763K PDF*)

The 2006 UW Study of Attrition and Retention was conducted to clarify and deepen the university's understanding of why underrepresented minority students leave the University of Washington at higher rates than do other students. The study included analysis of academic, demographic, and financial data from university databases, as well as interviews and focus groups with students, faculty, and staff. A variety of interacting factors were identified as related to higher attrition rates, including campus climate; financial issues; differences between academic needs and family/community/cultural expectations or needs; pre-college and first-year academic experience; waiting/being embarrassed to ask for help; work-related issues; and not getting into one's major of choice. Of these, climate issues were most powerful.

Undergraduate Student Progress. L. Basson and G. Gillmore, OEA Report 97-1, 1997.

The purpose of this report is to present and synthesize the recent research that has been conducted at UW on student progress. The report begins with a description of the ways in which undergraduate progress has been measured. Then, previous research is categorized as that relating to demographic differences, student performance factors, student expectations and rationales, effects of program of study, and institutional and non-institutional reasons for extended times and inefficiency. The report concludes that more work is required to determine the relationship among various factors.

Average Graduate Efficiency Indexes for University of Washington Undergraduate Degree Programs. G. Gillmore and P. Hoffman, OEA Research Note N-96-8, 1996. (814K PDF*)

In this research note, the Graduation Efficiency Index (GEI) is defined and its limitations described. GEI averages are given for all departments across bachelor degree recipients from fall 1992 through spring 1995. These averages are listed for freshman and transfer entrants within B. A. and B. S. degrees.

Helping UW Students Graduate in a Timely Fashion. L. Basson, OEA Research Note N-96-7, 1996.

As part of their annual 1996 progress reports on end-of-program assessment, departments offering undergraduate majors at the UW were asked to comment on what steps they were taking to improve time to degree for their majors. This research note summarizes the departmental responses as well as other recent research on time to degree. It concludes with a few suggestions on new ways to address the issue of time to degree. One of the major themes that emerged from the departmental responses was that despite their efforts to improve time to degree through curricular and administrative measures, many departments felt they were able to achieve only limited improvements. They reported that many of their students were taking longer to graduate due to factors beyond their control such as the need to work for wages in order to finance their education.

Factors Contributing to Undergraduate Attrition at the University of Washington. N. Lowell and L. Basson, OEA Report 94-7, 1994. (2.39MB PDF*)

Freshmen who entered in autumn of 1991 and transfers who entered in autumn of 1992 were surveyed if they were enrolled spring quarter, 1991, but were not enrolled fall, 1991, or winter, 1992. Half of these former students were surveyed by telephone; half by mail. The response rate for the former was 15.6% and for the latter was 30.2%. Factors leading to attrition were found to be in part personal and in part indigenous to a large university. The most common reason stated for leaving UW was financial, followed by inability to get the program of their choice. Nearly all respondents indicated that they intended to continue their education and over half were enrolled in another school at the time of the survey.

Graduation Time and Rates of 1987 Entrants and 1993 Graduates: A Longitudinal Study of University of Washington Undergraduates. G. Gillmore, OEA Report 94-3, 1994. (1.69MB PDF*)

Two UW freshman-entrant samples were studied based on official UW records: all students who entered as Freshman in the fall of 1987 and all students who graduated in the spring of 1993. The purpose of the study was determine factors related to whether undergraduates obtained degrees and the length of time to do so. Regularly admitted students were found to graduate at twice the rate of specially admitted students. Generally, professional school students took longer to graduate than Arts and Sciences majors. Seventy-eight percent of the graduates declared only one major (excluding pre-majors). For those who changed their majors each major change added about one quarter and twelve credits. To reduce graduation time, the report suggests that intervention to reduce total credits may have a larger impact than interventions to increase credit loads.