Nearly 500 universities across the country, including MU, have signed on to an initiative to increase the number of college graduates in the United States by 2025.
Peter McPherson is the CEO of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, one of the organizations involved with an initiative to ensure that 60 percent of adults have a college degree by 2025. He says schools, including MU, were involved in determining the goals of the initiative.
"It’s easier for individual campuses to push hard on a goal if it’s part of a national goal," McPherson says. "Because it involves changes and change is never easy but if you’re part of a national group pushing for a goal, I think it’s helpful."
McPherson says many schools were already focused on increasing graduation rates and reducing the amount of time to finish a degree.
"The reason for the strength here is we’re not starting from ground zero in most places," McPherson says. "In the last few years, it’s very clear that schools are focusing on graduation levels percentages."
Helping students stay on track and finish what they’ve started is one way schools are trying to improve the degree completion rate. University of Missouri Provost Brian Foster says streamlining student support is one way to ensure success.
"It’s the same advising, the same student support systems, the same faculty support systems, the same instructional design for all these different things so that it all fits together better," Foster says.
Foster says the university also has a program to reach out to former students who didn’t finish their degree in order to help them walk away as college graduates.