WVU improving retention and graduation rates despite budget deficit

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 11:38 AM EST
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginia University is seeing its second highest freshman retention rate in history - 81.4% - as well as its highest four-year graduation rate on record, reflecting a jump of 14% in the past eight years.

Officials cite recent data which allegedly shows a 5% retention bump for first-generation students and male students returning after their freshman year, as well as a 3.3% increase in retention among “students from historically marginalized backgrounds”.

Officials from the Office of Provost say the University defines “students from historically marginalized backgrounds” in accordance with definitions outlined under federal guidance from the Department of Education and in coordination with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

The definitions include students of color, including Black, multiracial, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian/Alaskan and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students.

The data comes from information provided by students on their application for enrollment and, if relevant, their FAFSA form.

This bump in graduation and retention couldn’t have come at a better time for WVU, however, with recent controversies surrounding the university such as President Gee asking Senior Leaders employed by the University to voluntarily cut their own pay by up to 10% “until the university exits its budget deficit”; and the WVU Faculty Senate voting “no confidence” in Gee’s leadership.

WVU Officials attribute this to a focus on purpose and student success programming, including incorporating “CliftonStrengths® training” into certain one-credit courses designed for students on academic notice or probation as well as using the program to help incoming freshmen learn their strengths.

For more information, click HERE.