Retention And Graduation Rates Climb At Texas A&M
Texas A&M University Provost and Executive Vice President Carol A. Fierke has announced that undergraduate retention and enrollment rates at Texas A&M are rising, marking gains in key indicators of student success.
While overall retention and graduation rates at Texas A&M are increasing, the gains are even higher for first-generation students and students from families earning less than $60,000 annually.
Enrollment and retention gains
The latest available data shows four-year graduation rates for first-generation students grew by more than four percentage points, from 50.3% to 54.5%, and first-year retention increased from 86.6% to 88.1%.
The first-year retention rate for students from families earning less than $60,000 annually grew from 86.6% to 89.1%, while the four-year graduation rate increased by more than four percentage points, from 50.2% to 54.4%.
Six-year graduation rates increased slightly for both groups, as well.
Across all students, Texas A&M’s first-year retention rate climbed from 92.1% to 93.2%, and the four-year graduation rate rose about three percentage points from 56.2% to 59.0%. The six-year graduation rate was relatively steady at 81.7%.
“In real numbers, our efforts to increase student success meant more than 110 additional first-year students remained enrolled and pursuing an A&M degree, while an additional 250 students were able to complete their degree ‘on-time’ this past year,” Fierke said. “These percentage changes represent hundreds of students impacted.”
Putting the data into perspective, Fierke said Texas A&M’s Student Success Initiative sets benchmarks that the university is approaching with measurable progress. The initiative focuses resources on retaining and graduating the students already enrolled, especially first-generation students and those from lower-income families and underserved populations.
Student Success Initiative progress
- Overall first-year retention
- Goal: 95%
- Current: 93.2%
- Four-year graduation rate
- Goal: 65%
- Current: 59%
- Six-year graduation rate:
- Goal: 85%
- Current: 81.7%
“These increases address one of the major goals of the Student Success Initiative: eliminating disparities in student success,” Fierke said. “While work remains to reach our goals, the effort and dedication of individuals across our university is showing up in the data we gather and the lives of the students who attend our university.”
Investments in student success
Across Texas A&M, the Office for Student Success is partnering with faculty and staff to boost retention and increase four- and six-year graduation rates. Student Success launched Hullabaloo U this fall, an innovative program designed to ease students through the transition into college.
The campus-wide, multifaceted effort features classes of 25 or fewer first-year students, paired with a faculty or staff member and a peer mentor in a small, supportive community. The goal is to help forge bonds and shared experiences between faculty, staff, and students, in essence “shrinking” the physical size of the campus and building supportive and lasting relationships. Planning is underway to expand the program next year to all first-time-in-college students.
In addition, Texas A&M piloted an early alert system this fall to assist students struggling with coursework or the transition to college. A First Generation Center is in the formation phase, with the goal of extending resources, support, and encouragement to Aggies who are pioneering college for the first time in their family’s history. The university also plans to announce the opening of a Math Learning Center to enhance services for students, joining with the services offered at the University Writing Center and the Academic Success Center.
President Michael K. Young championed Student Success in his 2019 State of the University Address and identified these efforts as an investment priority in the form of a $5 million annual commitment. The Texas Legislature also appropriated Texas A&M an additional $91 million over the biennium, providing a boost to teaching, research, and student success initiatives.
“We deeply appreciate the support of President Young and the Texas Legislature,” Fierke said. “These investments in student success translate into life-changing opportunities for every student who attends our university and proudly pursues a Texas A&M diploma.”