03:27 AM

Study names Ohio State University a national leader in improving graduation rates

A new report on graduation rates names The Ohio State University one of the top five nationally in improving both overall graduation rates and the graduation rates of underrepresented minority students.

According to The Education Trust report, Rising Tide: Do College Grad Rate Gains Benefit All Students? there have been real improvements in graduation rates from 2003 to 2013. However, many institutions are not narrowing long-standing gaps between groups. The report identifies Ohio State as one that has shown vast improvements in closing the gap in completion rates between underrepresented students and their white peers.

By closing the completion gap between white and underrepresented minority students’ graduation rates by 8.2 percent, Ohio State is fourth among the top 26 institutions that have shown significant gains in completion rates for all students over the last decade.

“These findings underscore our institutional commitment to inclusive excellence,” said President Michael V. Drake. “I am particularly proud of our progress in increasing the graduation rate for underrepresented minority students. We must continue to light a clear path to the American Dream for all students.”

Topping the list of institutions that are closing the gap are the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Armstrong Atlantic State University and University of Massachusetts-Lowell. The report lists Ohio schools Wright State University and the University of Toledo among institutions with increasing gaps.

For the study, The Education Trust looked at six-year graduation rates of three underrepresented groups: African American, Latino and Native students, and compared them with the rates of white students. The report notes that Ohio State improved graduation rates for all students by 17.7 percent from 2003-2013; the rate for underrepresented minorities rose 25.5 percent while the rate for white students improved by 17 percent.

Ohio State’s improved graduation rates are the outcome of bringing in better- prepared students and providing resources and programming that help students succeed, said Dolan Evanovich, vice president for strategic enrollment.

"Ohio State’s commitment to student success has clearly improved our graduation rates and reduced the graduation gap for underrepresented minority students,” Evanovich said. “Effective initiatives have included investment in robust programs university-wide that support undergraduates, with special attention given to populations with historically lower graduation rates. We recognize that much work still needs to be done to help our students, but it is gratifying to see significant improvements in both of these important metrics over the past decade.”

The Education Trust is a nonprofit advocacy organization that promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels. Its goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement.