Eastern Michigan University shows significant increase in graduation rates

Improved advising, stronger academic profile of entering students and broadened financial aid among reasons cited for improvement

Graduates at commencement ceremony give each other a high-five.

YPSILANTI – Graduation rates at Eastern Michigan University have shown significant improvement for the latest cohorts of graduating seniors, the result of factors that include improved advising procedures, more financial aid and a stronger academic profile among applicants.

The University’s four-year, five-year and six-year graduation rates increased across the board, according to the latest figures from the Office of Institutional Research and Information Management. Four-year rates increased by nearly 7 percent since 2010. Five-year rates increased by 8 percent since 2009 and the six-year graduation rate reached 45 percent for students who entered Eastern as freshmen in 2012, an increase of nearly 5 percent from the previous year’s entering cohort.

In addition, for low-income students receiving Pell Grants, the graduation rate has increased more than 6 percent in the last year. The current 36 percent six-year graduation rate for students receiving Pell Grants has grown over the past thirteen years, and is now the highest on record. Please see the chart outlining completion rates. 

“This is gratifying news, and it shows that our efforts in improving how we serve our students and guide them are paying off,” said Rhonda Longworth, provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs. “We remain highly focused on continuing to improve our retention and graduation rates. The students of today face numerous challenges, and we want to do everything possible to facilitate their progress and academic and social growth.”

Reasons for the increasing graduation rates include:

• Improved advising procedures. Eastern has invested in more advising services, including increasing staff and opening the Francine Parker Advising Center in the Student Center. A new transfer student advising center also was opened in McKenny Hall.

• Academic profile: Entering students at Eastern are increasingly better prepared for college. For instance, this year's incoming freshman class continued a trend of improved GPAs and ACT scores in recent history. The average GPA of incoming freshmen is 3.24, an increase from 3.12 in 2011. Average ACT scores have increased to 22.2 from 21.06 seven years ago.

• Improved student support: Eastern Michigan University has been a leader among state public universities in making college affordable, with special emphasis on first-generation, at-risk, low-income students. A prime example is the Education First Opportunity Scholarships. First introduced in the 2012-2013 academic year, the Education First Opportunity Scholarship (EFOS) is designed specifically for that population. To be eligible, students must have a 3.0 GPA and minimum ACT composite of 20. The scholarship offers full tuition minus the Federal Pell Grant money a student receives.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 19,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

October 03, 2018

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Geoff Larcom