MONMOUTH — Western Oregon University’s graduation rates have increased, but remain below a 50 percent completion mark in six years.
David McDonald, associate provost, said rates have climbed from 41 percent in 2009-10 to 46 percent in 2013-14. Because of variables each year, McDonald said taking rates five years apart shows a more accurate measurement.
WOU President Mark Weiss said the 46 percent was not good enough during a presentation to the Central Lions Club on Monday.
Reasons for students not earning a bachelor’s degree in six years or less vary from not being prepared for college to having affordability issues or even struggling with mental health, Weiss said.
The worst-case scenario is when students drop out of college, leaving the university with debt and no degree, he said.
McDonald added that some of Western’s programs are built to get students started at WOU, but to transfer to another school to complete their degree.
Western has developed a culture of Latino students graduating, which runs counter to national trends. Latino grad rates have increased from 35 percent in 2009-10 to 52 percent in 2013-14.
Polk County Itemizer-Observer
by Emily Mentzer