Despite criticism, graduation rates at UT Austin have improved over last few decades

Posted on: July 18th, 2011 by Mary Lee Grant No Comments

While the University of Texas at Austin’s low graduation rate has become a favorite statistic for advocates of efficiency-based higher education reforms, an analysis of UT’s historical data shows UT’s graduation rate actually improved from 1983 to 2004.

According to a story in the UT alumni publication The Alcalde, UT Austin’s four-year graduation rate jumped 58.8 percent over that period.

Gov. Rick Perry and the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation have called for major reforms at the state’s flagship universities, have been characterized as inefficient and wasteful.

But according to the university’s statistical handbook, the four-year graduation rose from 32.8 percent in 1983 to 52.1 percent in 2004. The most marked improvement has occurred since the mid-1990s.

Since 2004, that four-year graduation rate has fallen slightly, to 51 percent, according tothe university’s fall 2010 fact sheet.

UT Austin President William Powers Jr.former UT System Board of Regents Chairman Charles Miller, and other UT regents have said the school needs to improve its graduation rates. Powers established a task force on improving graduation rates last week.

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