COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — According to the U.S. Department of Education, just over six out of ten students who enroll in a four-year college or university graduates with a degree within six years.
Some Ohio schools — including Case Western University, Miami University, Denison University and the University of Dayton — exceed that average with six-year graduation rates of 80% or higher. One campus boasts a graduation rate of nearly 90%.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 88% of freshmen at the Ohio State University’s main campus leave with a diploma within six years. That compares to the national average college graduation rate of 64%, according to the NCES’s most recent data available.
“We have a deep commitment to being the model 21st century land grant university,” said Dr. Charlene Gilbert, the Senior Vice Provost for Student Academic Excellence. “I think we owe it to a real deep commitment at OSU to supporting our students, and making sure that they have the resources and the infrastructure so they can succeed in their classwork, succeed outside the classroom, and eventually go on to graduate.”
Gilbert said there are a lot of obstacles that can keep a student from graduating, and it’s important for institutions to be mindful of all of them.
“I think that in the context of higher education, one of the things that we have found – that finances are often a major barrier for students,” Gilbert said.
In addition to scholarships and financial aid, OSU announced its Scarlet and Gray Advantage pilot program in August, offering different pathways to graduate debt-free. The university has plan to expand the program over the next decade.
On top of mental health, peer support, and academic resources, Gilbert said OSU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is growing more than 30 targeted programs to keep students on track. The NCES data shows slightly lower graduation rates among Black, Hispanic and Native American students. Gilbert said the university has noted improved graduation rates among Hispanic students in recent years.
OSU is a member of organizations, such as the University Innovation Alliance, that develop new ideas to improve higher education and share those ideas with other schools.
“We’re thinking big. We’re trying to think and scale. We’re trying to think of ways that we can address these issues,” Gilbert said. “And we recognize that if we are able to figure these things out and share them with others, that that will have an even greater impact across the nation. And that’s both an honor and an obligation – a responsibility to do what we can.”