Give the University of New Mexico an A for making a small, but measurable, improvement in its graduation rates.
UNM’s new 45.1 percent six-year rate for full-time students increased about a half percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2010. Four-year graduation rates improved 2.4 percent over the same two-year period to 13.2 percent. That doesn’t mean New Mexico is anywhere close to the head of the class in this important measure of success. UNM’s six-year graduation rate remains far below the national six-year average of 55.1 percent.
University officials attribute the improvement to providing more advisers to help college students stay focused and on track. Over the past three years, more than 15 additional advisers have been hired at a cost of $1.2 million. The university also is recruiting faculty and staff to help coach students about requirements and courses that will lead them to graduation.
The improvements are welcome news after a recent report that freshmen retention this fall is UNM’s lowest in 10 years. Obviously there is work to do, but interim provost Chaouki Abdallah pledges to push forward with methods that appear to be working.
If education in America is to improve, it will take graduating more students better prepared to enter the global work world and be productive citizens.
This is a step in the right direction and a hopeful sign that UNM is on an upward track.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.