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UTEP Works To Improve Graduation Rate

Less than 30 percent of University of Texas at El Paso undergraduates complete their coursework in six years. The number of students who graduate in four years is even more dismal.

“We’ve got a 4 percent graduation rate for four-year students, we have to improve that,” State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, said. “It’s one of those things that UTEP has to improve to become Tier One.”

Shapleigh said UTEP’s chances of reaching that status are slim to none if the numbers do not change quick. But UTEP officials say the University is well on its way to reaching that point.

“It’s one of those numbers that’s good for comparing private schools and small schools,” Jarvis said. “But it does not allow for students who come to UTEP who are part time or who transfer.”

UTEP officials said of the 3,000 students who will graduate this year, 70 percent of them will not be counted in that graduation rate. That’s because those who attend part-time or transfer from a community college – the majority of UTEP’s student body – are not counted in the formula.

The graduation rate is derived by taking the number fo first-time, full-time student at the start of an academic year and determining how many of them have graduated four and six years later.

Some state lawmkaers are hoping a change in how funding is handed out to Universities will reverse low graduation rates. According to an article in The Texas Tribune, the higher Education Coordinating Board approved new formula-financing recommendations. Shapleigh said the move just makes sense for everyone.

“You get to go to your job quicker. You get more time in the workforce,” Shapleigh said. “Those three or four years at the beginning of your work force could be a million dollars at the end of your work life.”

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