Texas A&M University-Kingsville has struggled with graduation rates, but recent numbers show improvement in that area.
The university had 1,075 graduates from all levels in fiscal year 2010. That figure increased to 1,447 in the recently completed fiscal year 2013, for a three-year percentage increase of 35 percent, said Dr. Rex Gandy, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
“This increase in the number of annual graduates is due to the hard work of the faculty and staff of this university under the able leadership of President Tallant,” Gandy said.
A growth in enrollment is just one of the factors that contributed to the increase in the number of graduates. Total enrollment at the university has risen steadily over the same time period for a 22 percent increase, Gandy said.
Another factor is increased retention. First-year student retention has improved from 55 to 62 percent over the same time period, he added.
Finally, Gandy said, the higher numbers can be attributed to a decrease in time to degree, or the number of semester credit hours it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree. “The average number of semester credit hours for an undergraduate degree has dropped by about seven semester credit hours over the last few years,” he said.
Gandy explained that most bachelor’s degrees require 120 semester credit hours to complete. However, students often take more college classes than are required. “In fiscal year 2008, our average student took 157 semester credit hours to earn their degree. The average for our Texas peer group was 153,” he said. “In fiscal year 2012, our students decreased this average to 150, matching our Texas peer group at 150.”