During each graduation season at Michigan State University, more and more caps get tossed into the air signaling a transition away from college as new Spartan graduates begin making a difference in Michigan and around the world. For MSU, successfully graduating more — and more diverse — students isn’t by accident; it’s by design.
“The founding ideal of MSU is of providing access to people so they could have opportunity,” says Mark Largent, associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of undergraduate studies. “There’s not a single Big Ten university, not a single public university in the state of Michigan, that is both more accessible and at which students are more successful. That balance and the drive to be even more accessible and more successful is the goal. The way to do that is to design an institution where every student we admit gets the academic, social, emotional and financial support they need to learn, thrive and graduate.”
After a record-setting 57,898 applications were submitted for the 2022-23 academic year, more than 9,800 new Spartan students arrived on campus this fall. This new class is part of something big. Enrolling approximately 50,000 students, MSU educates more Michigan students than any other institution in the state, and the student body overall is growing more diverse in terms of students of color and international students. The university also educates more Pell Grant recipients than any school in the state, and nearly one in four Spartan students is the first in their family to attend college.
To support these students, academic units across the university are working in concert to ensure every student who enrolls can persist and graduate. Over the past seven years, MSU’s graduation rate has risen steadily to its current record high of 82%. But the university aims to raise that to 86% by 2030 — a major goal of MSU’s strategic plan. More students earning degrees means a bigger talent pool. Recent graduates have a 94% placement rate after graduation, and more than half of MSU graduates begin their careers in Michigan, contributing to the prosperity of the state.