More and more tassels are being transferred across the 10-by-10 squared cardboard surface every year with the decrease in credit hours needed for a bachelor’s degree.
In the 2013 fiscal year, 1,447 students graduate at Texas A&M University of Kingsville (TAMUK). In the past three years the number of graduates increases by 35 percent.
“This increase in graduates is due to the hard work of the faculty and staff of this university under the able leadership of President Tallant,” Provost, Dr. Rex Gandy said.
The university had 1,075 graduates from all levels in the fiscal year of 2010, increasing to 1,447 students in the recently completed fiscal year 2013.
Another factor for the increase in students graduating is the decrease in semester credit hours needed for a bachelor’s degree, Gandy said. “The average number of semester credit hours for an undergraduate degree has dropped by about seven semester credit hours over the last few years,” Gandy said.
Most bachelor’s degrees require 120 semester credit hours to graduate. However, students often take more classes than they are required to.
“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. In fiscal year 2012, our students decreased this average to 150, matching our Texas peer group at 150,” Gandy said.
More graduates mean higher enrollment, and the total enrollment at the university has risen steadily over the past three years with a 22 percent increase.
“Our number of students enrolled has increased tremendously over these past few years,” said Dr. Duane Gardiner, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs.
First-year student retention has improved as well from 55 to 62 percent in 2013.
“Historically, our graduation rate has been rather low compared to other schools in the A&M System, mainly because of a low freshman retention rate. If students don’t stay in school, they don’t graduate,” Gardiner said. As numbers are increasing, so are the university’s standards for acceptance. ACT score requirements have bumped up from 14 in 2011 to 16 in Fall 2013.
“TAMUK has become more selective in their admission by raising their ACT score guidelines,” said Gardiner.
The university has made many improvements to gain a higher graduation rate. “Having been here for 24 years, I can tell you that during the past few years the overall culture at the university has become more positive, more professional, and more alert to the influences surrounding our students,” Gardiner said. “The university, its leaders, its faculty and staff, and especially its students are doing a lot of things right.”