Graduation and Retention Rates Up at Florida Universities

By: Press Release; Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Press Release; Lanetra Bennett Email

By: Lanetra Bennett
February 3, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - 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

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-GrantUniversities (APLU) as a 2013 MVP Trailblazer Award Exemplary Program for its innovative
practices that contribute to successfully retaining students at the

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.

To view the full Annual Accountability report on the State University System of Florida, go to

Report: Graduation and retention rates up at state universities

TALLAHASSEE— Student graduation and retention rates are continuing to improve at Florida’s state universities with an increasing number of students studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, according to a recent report by the Board of Governors.

Those are among dozens of trends highlighted in the Board’s 2012-2013 Annual Accountability Report, which compiles data from all State University System institutions and tracks system changes from year-to-year. See a summary of the report here.

As a whole, the report shows that universities are on the upswing from years past, graduating more students in a timely manner, producing more diplomas in high-demand fields, bringing in more federal research dollars and securing more patents for inventions.

Among the most notable findings, the State University System increased its six-year graduation rate (the national standard of measurement) to 68 percent, up by 4 percent compared to the 2003-2009 cohort. Universities also saw a slight increase in student retention rates, suggesting that institutions are successfully supporting students early in their college years.

“This is our fifth year of producing this report, and the data are getting more useful every time,” said Jan Ignash, vice chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs for the State University System. “We’re now able to track trends and compare ourselves with other large university systems.”

Added Ignash, “Because of the number of students we serve, these are stubborn numbers. Even a change of 1 percentage point is very significant.”

The report also highlights some challenges, including lagging graduation rates at certain universities and a systemwide struggle to reduce the number of students with excess hours, which are costly for students and delay their progression into the workforce.

Those challenges are addressed by the Board of Governors’ proposed Performance Funding Model, said Marshall Criser III, chancellor of the State University System.

“A fundamental piece of the Board’s 10-metric model is to reward excellence and improvement,” Criser said. “We will continue to work with our universities and Florida's elected leaders to deliver value in higher education.”

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Facts about the State University System of Florida and the Board of Governors

The State University System of Florida is a constitutional body led by the 17-member Board of Governors. The system has 12 universities and more than 335,000 students, making it the second-largest public university system in the nation. Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and managing the system’s coordination and operation. The Board appoints a Chancellor who serves as the system’s chief executive. For more, visit

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