UC Riverside’s six-year graduation rate — considered a leading measure of higher-education excellence — has crested the 76% mark for the first time.
The achievement caps a six-year period during which the university’s six-year graduation rate has risen 10 points. The newly released data from UCR’s Office of Institutional Research considers how many members of the university’s 2013 freshman cohort had graduated by summer 2019.
“The six-year graduation rate demonstrates something beyond the quality of students UC Riverside attracts,” UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox said. “It is the realization of a concerted effort over many years to provide UCR’s students with the tools and supportive environment they need to succeed in college.”
In 2013, UC Riverside formed a Graduation Rate Taskforce that produced 37 recommendations on how to improve graduation rates. Many of those recommendations have since been implemented, including limiting undeclared major status to one year; offering the most critical and high-demand courses more frequently, including during summer session; and “front-loading” first-year students' fall academic calendar with engaging classroom lecturers.
The 76% mark is an increase of 1 percentage point over the 2012 cohort’s six-year graduation rate. Also significant is the virtual parity in graduation rates between underrepresented minorities, or URMs, and non-underrepresented minorities at UCR. URMs include black, Latino, Pacific Islander, and American Indian students.
The six-year graduation rate for URMs reached an all-time high, 74%, compared with 77% for non-underrepresented minorities. Nationally, the six-year graduation rate for URMs falls well below that of non-underrepresented minorities. While 60 percent of students in the United States graduate in six years, only 40 percent of black students graduate in six years, and 55 percent of Latino students.
The new numbers from the Office of Institutional Research also show four-year graduation rates for UCR at 61%, up 20 points in seven years. Five-year rates register at 75%, also a new UCR record.
The achievements come as UCR set an enrollment record for fall 2019, with 25,548 students. Among those are 22,055 undergraduates and 3,493 graduate students. Since 2010, the campus has grown from 20,746 students.