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Graduation and retention rates up at Florida universities

Florida's higher education

A new report shows the state university system’s graduation rate is still strong. Florida ranks third compared to the ten largest public university systems.

The Florida Board of Governors’ Annual Accountability Report says the state university system is graduating more students in a timely manner.

“It makes me more confident in the fact that I’m going to be successful.” Says, FSU sophomore, Melissa Blanco.

The report says the six-year graduation rate for Florida universities has increased by four percent, up to 68 percent.

It says universities have also done well in keeping students. FAMU’s retention rate, as listed in the report, was 72 percent in 2012-2013, which is up from 62 percent in 2008-09. FSU remained at 90 percent.

Blanco says school advisers play a huge part in helping students stay and graduate on time. She says, “It gives us more insight to what we’re doing and the fact that we’re doing it all correctly really helps. She was just basically like, you’re on schedule and gave me classes to take. So it basically planned out the rest of my time here at Florida State.”

The report also highlights some challenges, which includes a system-wide struggle or reducing the number of students with excess credit hours. Administrators say taking too many hours can be costly for students and delay their progression into the workforce.

FSU student, Mariah Gaines, says, “You have to really prepare yourself for your career. I feel like you can get really stuck in a rut almost of just relying on school rather than moving forward.”

The Vice President of FAMU’s Student Affairs, Dr. William Hudson, says, “FAMU has always been committed to recruiting the best and brightest students in the nation. In fact, from March 8-12, 2014, FAMU is embarking on a President’s Tour that will serve to recruit and award scholarship dollars to high-achieving, high school students.

Last year’s tour encouraged a 10 percent increase in admissions applications alone. This is proof that students across the nation understand that FAMU is an institution that embodies what it takes to help them discover who they can become through ‘Excellence with Caring.’ Last month, I personally journeyed to Jacksonville, Fla. and awarded 18 outstanding students a total of more than $280,000 in scholarships, another example of our ongoing recruitment efforts.

Additionally, the vast leadership, research and internship opportunities offered at FAMU provide students with the real-world experiences necessary to excel in the global market. Just last month, we announced that one of our recent graduates was accepted into Google’s highly competitive IT residency program.

FAMU continues to implement national best practices to improve recruitment, retention, progression and graduation, and continues to review strategies through collaboration statewide and nationally.”

Administrators at FSU say Florida State University was recently named by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) as a 2013 MVP Trailblazer Award Exemplary Program for its innovative practices that contribute to successfully retaining students at the university.

From 2001 to 2013, the first to second year retention rate increased from 85.8% to 92%, establishing FSU as a leader among public institutions. A key strategy included forming an Enrollment Management Committee with broad representation from multiple campus partners. This committee designed a comprehensive approach to increase retention which included tutoring, Freshman Interest Groups and a course designed for probationary students.

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