By Troy Miller

Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst, Florida College Access Network

Florida’s 4-year public universities are becoming more efficient at graduating students overall, according to the Florida Board of Governor’s latest accountability report.  The combined graduation rate for full-time, first-time-in-college students attending state universities is now 67%, up one percentage point over the last year and up two points over the last five.  This is an impressive feat, given enrollments for these students has risen almost 11% while state funding has dropped 39% since 2007-08.

Below is a chart of 6-year graduation rates for full-time, first-time-in-college students for each of the state’s public universities.  Graduation rates at nine of the 11 state universities have gone up over the past five years, with the highest increase taking place at the University of South Florida (9%).  One of the institutions more responsible for the improved system-wide graduation rates is the University of Central Florida.  As you can see below, graduation rates at UCF have only risen 1% in the past five years.  At the same time, however, the size of their first-year cohort has risen 31%.  State universities with the largest entering cohorts (UF, FSU, UCF, USF and FIU) affect the system-wide graduation rate the most, so the success of the system hinges largely on the performance of these schools.
The relative high performance of the state’s largest universities is also a reason why the state-wide graduation rate can be a little misleading.  Although the system-wide 6-year graduation rate for 2012 is 67%, six of the eleven state universities still have graduation rates lower than 50%.  To continue raising the performance levels of all students attending state universities, institutions with the most room for improvement will need to follow suit.

To find more system-wide and institutional metrics on graduation rates including part-time students, transfers, as well as other measures of effectiveness, please visit the full Florida Board of Governors 2011-12 Accountability Report here.  To view the data used in the above chart, as well as some figures related to the academic profile of each institution, click here.

~Follow Troy Miller on Twitter @TroyMillerFCAN

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