Sara Axelson, vice president for student affairs, said newer programs meant to increase student retention and expedite graduation might be coming into effect.
“Most programs are doable in four years, but some are still working to tighten their requirements,” she said. “As we have the four year degree programs we’re putting into place and the 2+2 program with community colleges, I think we’re taking the right steps. We just need to continue those efforts.”
These programs and efforts will likely increase graduation numbers into the future, Axelson explained.
“I anticipate we’ll have growth in the number of graduates,” she said. “Last year, we had one of the largest freshman classes we’ve had in a long time. As they work through the system, it will eventually boost our degrees awarded.”
While more degrees have been awarded this year, some students still might get a surprise after declaring their graduation date, Registrar Lane Buchanan explained.
“In the spring of 2014, 48 undergraduate and graduate students declared a date and didn’t graduate on time,” he said. “However, we don’t keep in the database when they declared, only that they did.”
There are several reasons students might not graduate other than failing a class after walking the stage. Some undergraduates declare when they are graduating the first semester of college, expecting to finish in four years, Buchanan said.
“Sometimes life gets in the way, and they haven’t attended any classes for a year or two,” he said.
These failed graduation dates are also based on degrees, not students. Someone working towards a second degree might only graduate with one.
“They are still alumni of the University of Wyoming, but they just didn’t get that second degree,” Buchanan said.
These figures are still subject to change, Buchanan said. Final grades were submitted by faculty last week, and the registrar’s office is combing through the data and ensuring students did in fact graduate.
While it is still too early to say definitively, the STEP tutor center has made notable improvements to student retention and persistence, said Anne Alexander, associate vice president for academic affairs.
“We want people to come here,” she said. “We want them to explore and learn. The ultimate goal is to have them graduate, and we hope this will increase those rates.”