University of Wisconsin sees spike in graduation rates

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The University of Wisconsin System has seen a spike in graduation numbers from 10 years ago, and the number of graduates of color more than doubled in that period, according to officials.

Nearly 37,000 students completed their degrees in the last academic year, a 13 percent increase compared to the 2007-2008 school year, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

There were 4,919 graduates of color in the 2017-2018 school year, up from 1,839 a decade ago, said UW System President Ray Cross.

"Our graduation numbers are up over the last 10 years, which means we are doing a better job of getting students not just into the university but through it to graduate," Cross said.

He said the university system is looking to build graduation rates through "intrusive advising," a process in which advisers check on students who don't seem to be doing well.

"An adviser, faculty member or counselor would engage them and 'intrude' to find out what is going on," Cross said.

The advising program is in place at the system's Milwaukee and Oshkosh campuses, with plans to roll it out across the remaining campuses to help retain enrollment.

The university system president acknowledged that enrollment is down overall at the system's 13 campuses, which he attributes in part to there being fewer people of college age.

The system's Board of Regents approved millions of dollars of tuition increases in December for out-of-state and graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison over the next two academic years. The same month, the regents also approved a wage increase for the university system's employees and raises for 10 of the system's chancellors.

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