Graduation rates at the University of Wisconsin are higher than the national average among four-year universities in 2022, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. 

UW’s six-year graduation rate, based on freshmen who entered the university in 2015, is the highest its ever been at 89.2%, UW spokesperson Meredith McGlone said in an email statement.

Graduation rates for some students have further fallen below four calendar years, and the university is continuing to make efforts to improve the student experience on the UW campus, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning John Zumbrunnen said. 

Education Committee approves new degrees, extends application waiversThe Board of Regents approved the addition of new degrees and the extension of application waivers in a meeting Feb. Read…

Specifically, the UW-Madison Office of Admissions aims to determine if a student will succeed at the university when looking through applications, making for a more holistic admissions process, Zumbrunnen said.

The university does not just focus on the application process, Zumbrunnen explained, but also provides many different resources to help students succeed while they are at UW, including a writing center, the GUTS tutoring program and engineering and chemistry support groups.

BREAKING: Evers announces in-state tuition freeze, mental health investment for UW System campusesThe night before Gov. Tony Evers, D-Wis. was supposed to start his first day of work at Kohler Company, Kathy Read…

The Center for First Year Experience outlined several of these services on its website. For instance, the center serves students by facilitating career fairs, networking with hiring organizations, providing tutoring services and helping students communicate with faculty about their academic needs. 

The university tries to excel at “analyzing the data we have about how students make their way through their time at UW-Madison,” Zumbrunnen said. UW examines the number of class seats and timing of classes in a degree, how students proceed through a degree, whether certain classes are especially challenging and how online class options may help students complete a degree even when they are remote. 

Though UW has high graduation rates, there is still a significant gap between graduation rates of white students and students of color in the state of Wisconsin, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.

For example, in 2015, white students graduated at a rate of 67.8%, while for African American students the rate was 39.2%, the Southeast Asian rate was 51.6%, the Hispanic rate was 53.3% and those from biracial groups was a rate of 60.2%, according to statistics from the University of Wisconsin system.

Issues stemming from systemic racism, like financial pressure, feelings of “otherness” and lack of inclusivity may contribute to these gaps, according to the Hechinger Report.

UW, Iowa condemn Iowa fan who yelled racial slurs at UW wrestlerThe University of Wisconsin and the University of Iowa are speaking out after a spectator yelled racist comments at a Read…

The university is working on making progress towards decreasing this gap, Zumbrunnen said. To him, any progress that UW has made is a sign that the university is making positive changes. 

“The gap in six-year graduation rates between underrepresented students of color and the overall rate has been cut by two-thirds over the last 10 years, from 18 percentage points for the 2006 entering cohort to six percentage points for the 2015 entering cohort,” McGlone said. 

The data is improving for UW in terms of the gap in who is graduating from different racial groups, but there is still a lot of progress that the university is working towards, Zumbrunnen said.

UW is focusing on analyzing classroom climate and how it impacts different racial groups by looking at the curriculum, student support services and how the classroom environment is different for different people. Zumbrunnen said UW wants to create a sense of “belonging” for every student on campus, and campus leaders at UW are committed to working toward continued progress in decreasing the gaps between racial groups and graduation rates

UPDATED: Masks no longer required in Dane County starting March 1Public Health Madison & Dane County said they will not require face coverings in public indoor spaces starting March 1 Read…

Zumbrunnen also mentioned that the top priority of the admissions office is student’s success. He said they are very attentive to the data surrounding graduation rates, but they also want to hear student voices on how the university can continue to improve and make UW a more positive experience for every student. 

The Office of Student Affairs explained this mission: “As Badgers, we are committed to creating an inclusive environment where every student feels a sense of belonging, and where we appreciate and celebrate each other’s abilities, views, and accomplishments. Student Affairs drives community building on campus, and our units work to provide advocacy, support, resources, and connections to facilitate a sense of belonging for all students.”