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Nov. 17, 2021

Graduation rate increases for seventh year in a row

For the seventh year in a row, graduation rates for first-time, full-time students at Michigan State University increased, this time by nearly an entire percentage point, to 82.1%. As part of its strategic plan, the university is working to increase the graduation rate to 86% by 2030.

Graduation rates for Black/African American students increased by 2 percentage points and 3 percentage points for students identifying as two or more races. Students who receive Pell Grants also saw an increase from 70% to 72%.

The graduation rate increased for both in-state students and domestic out-of-state students compared to last year. The rate moved from 82% to 83% for in-state students and from 76% to 78% for out-of-state students. The graduation rate for male students increased by 2 percentage points to 80%, the highest since rates were first reported 25 years ago.

However, the graduation rate for first-generation students has stayed constant for four years at 73% and lags behind the rate for non-first-generation students which has been increasing 1 percentage point each year for at least the last five years.

“I’m proud of the progress we are making in supporting students towards a degree,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “An MSU degree is the best route to individual opportunity, and we believe every student we admit can succeed and graduate. Being the first person in a family to attend college is a huge accomplishment but it’s not without its challenges. One of the goals in our strategic plan is to expand and deepen the programs that support these students throughout their college experience.”

MSU programs such as Trio Student Support Services and the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative provide first-generation students with assistance in navigating the university system, building academic skills, and engaging in meaningful academic and life experiences. These efforts earned MSU acceptance into the Center for First-generation Student Success’s First-Gen Forward Cohort earlier this year. In addition, the university is one of 11 large public research universities working together to increase graduation rates for low-income, minority and first-generation students as part of the University Innovation Alliance.

“We are pleased with the improvement in our graduation rates and celebrate the students who have graduated with an MSU degree. We are confident of their success as they move into our state, across the nation and around the world,” said Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “These data are a measure of our commitment to close remaining graduation gaps. Our expanded range of student success services works in support of this commitment, better enabling all students in their progress toward degree completion.”

Another MSU program aimed at student success is My Spartan Story. It is the nation’s most comprehensive co-curricular record to help students sculpt meaning from their college experience, broaden their spectrum of interests, cultivate a sense of belonging and present the full breadth of their abilities to potential employers.

With the completion of the STEM Teaching and Learning Facility, MSU is reimaging its science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum. Additionally, two new dean roles were created specifically focused on STEM education research and scholarship.

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