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Group Issues 60 Suggestions on Improving UT Graduation Rates

A task force has issued numerous recommendations on how to promote timely graduation on the 40 Acres.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News
A task force has issued numerous recommendations on how to promote timely graduation on the 40 Acres.

How to boost graduation rates at the University of Texas? More student monitoring and orientation, decreased summer course fees, and increased tuition for students that have over-accumulated credits.

Those are some of the recommendations from UT’s Task Force on Undergraduate Graduation Rates, compiled in a report issued today.

Right now, UT’s four-year graduation rate is about 50 percent. The University wants to get to 70 percent by 2016. Today’s recommendations focus mostly on grooming students when they first hit campus.

The task force offered more than 60 suggestions to encourage students to earn their degrees more quickly. These recommendations, as outlined in a report summary, include:

• requiring orientation for all incoming first-year students; • creating an online tool to better allow students and advisers to monitor progress to a degree; • developing more intervention programs to identify and assist students in academic jeopardy; • identifying “bottleneck” courses where lack of available seats can impede students’ ability to pursue their required paths to graduation; • making it more difficult for students to change majors after four semesters or add a second major unless the requirements can be met within four years; • creating flat-rate summer tuition to encourage students to take more courses; • enforcing the state’s “slacker” rule that would increase tuition for students who have not graduated despite earning more than the required number of credits.

The task force also called for UT President Bill Powers to “appoint a graduation rate champion for three to five years to spearhead and coordinate these efforts. Another member of the university administration should be designated to oversee the availability of courses required for graduation.”

You can read the report online.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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