Graduation and retention rates on the rise

The latest data released from the Oakland University Office of Institutional Research and Assessment shows a steady increase in overall graduation and retention rates.


Recently, the office announced a 45.6 percent graduation rate for students who completed their programs in five or six years. These students entered Oakland University as freshmen in 2008 and 2009 as new members of the cohorts.


Additionally, there is new information regarding the retention rates for the 2012 and 2013 cohorts. This 78.1 percent of students who have returned to Oakland University following their first year is one of the highest retention rates in Oakland University history.


“Historically, first year retention rates have fluctuated between 70 and 75 percent,” Reuben Ternes, Assistant Director at the Oakland University Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, said. “We have seen a recent increase in the number of students returning with enough credits to be considered sophomores which is one of the best indicators the university has that students are on track to graduate on time.”


In an effort to continue the increase in student graduation rates, Oakland University has implemented over 33 student success initiatives, including GradPath, Completion Committee, Student Success Conference and the Center for Multiculturalism CORE and OUTAS programs. These programs have significantly helped maintain the increase in numbers.


“Looking at first time students who started in 2008 you will see that in 2014, after six years, that 45 percent have graduated from OU, 10 percent are still enrolled at OU, 12 percent are enrolled elsewhere and 15 percent have graduated elsewhere for a total of 82 percent of students succeeding,” Dr. Susan Awbrey, Senior Associate Provost at Oakland University, said.  


This overall student success rate is attributed mostly to the implementation of the First Year Advising Center in 2012, the 28 campaigns and overall improvements in class quality. These programs’ success is paired with the university-wide emphasis for students to obtain the right credits toward their degree.


“We are very excited to see the graduation rates continue to rise,” Ternes said. “It’s looking good for the future, and we are projecting that the graduation rates for future cohorts will break 50%.”


All students looking for ways to stay on track and receive their degree on time need to recognize the importance of becoming engaged with faculty, staff, fellow students and campus organizations.


“Remember to stay on track, and visit your adviser who can assist you in making sure all of the credits you are taking will count toward your degree, Awbrey said. “Those who take too many unnecessary credits are less likely to graduate on time and are at a higher likelihood to run out of financial aid or become discouraged.”


The increase in graduation and retention rates is great news for Oakland University. These factors play a huge role in attracting potential students as well as encouraging alumni as the university continues to transform and grow.