Getting That Degree in Record Time

Even during a pandemic, graduation rates are rising.

Photo from behind of UW–Madison graduate at commencement wearing a grad cap decorated with flowers and text that reads "It takes a village"

UW–Madison’s six-year graduation rate is now 89.2 percent, putting it in the top 10 among public research universities. Bryce Richter

More UW–Madison undergrads than ever are graduating, and they’re taking less time to complete their degrees.

The university’s six-year and four-year graduation rates are at record highs. The six-year rate is now 89.2 percent, up from 88.5 percent the prior year — putting it in the top 10 among public research universities. The four-year rate rose to 71.8 percent, up from 71.2 percent.

The gap in six-year graduation rates between underrepresented students of color and the overall rate has been cut by two-thirds over the last 10 years, from 18 percentage points for the 2006 entering cohort to 6 percentage points for the 2015 entering cohort.

The average time-to-degree for 2020–21 bachelor’s degree recipients has also shortened again, to 3.89 years, setting another UW–Madison record. Undergraduate retention rates have remained robust, and the total number of degrees conferred, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, rose to 11,663, the highest ever.

“It’s impressive that all of these metrics continue to be so strong despite the impacts of a global pandemic,” says Provost Karl Scholz. “This could not have happened without the extra efforts of our faculty and staff and the hard work of our students during this exceptionally challenging time.”

Published in the Spring 2022 issue

Tags: Student life, Students, Teaching and learning

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