The University of Texas at Austin places strong emphasis on continually enhancing the student experience and student learning. Administrators, faculty, and staff gather many types of data in order to document, analyze, report on, and improve student success and achievement.
The University has set goals for undergraduate student achievement in several key, interdependent areas:
- Four-year graduation rate
- Percentage of first-time-in-college (FTIC) students with cumulative grade point averages below 2.0 in freshman year
- FTIC student progress toward degree (PTD) in freshman year
- FTIC student second-year retention rate
- Number of bachelor’s degrees conferred
Four-year graduation rate
In 2011, the University set out to improve its four-year graduation rate to 70% by 2016-2017 and has devoted significant resources to achieving that goal. Recent results suggest that the University’s efforts in that regard have been effective.
|Academic Year||Four-Year Graduation Rate|
FTIC freshman grade point average
In order to meet its goal of a 70% four-year graduation rate, UT Austin needs to ensure that no more than 5% of FTIC freshmen earn less than a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) during each semester of their first year. Meeting this goal helps to minimize freshman attrition. The figures in the table below mark the percentages of FTIC freshman students who achieved a GPA of less than 2.0 in each semester. As the table indicates, the University has been successful in meeting its goals on this measure for six consecutive semesters.
|Freshman Cohort Year||Fall Achievement||Spring Achievement|
|2013||2013: 5.3%||2014: 5.8%|
|2014||2014: 3.7%||2015: 4.7%|
|2015||2015: 4.5%||2016: 4.6%|
|2016||2016: 3.6%||2017: 4.4%|
FTIC freshman progress toward degree
Freshman progress toward degree (PTD) is obtained by calculating the number of semester credit hours successfully completed by FTIC students in their first year and dividing it by the number of semester credit hours that most baccalaureate degrees require (120). To increase the likelihood that they will graduate in four years, FTIC students need to complete 12.5% of their degree requirements by the end of their first year. In order to meet its goal of a 70% four-year graduation rate, the University needs to ensure that 75% of freshmen achieve a PTD of 13% or greater during their first semester in order to keep the cohort on pace for timely graduation.
|Freshman Cohort Year||FTIC Freshmen with PTD of 13%|
Second-year retention rate
The transition from the second to third year of college has traditionally seen the second highest attrition rates (after that from the first to second year). A consistently strong second-year retention rate helps maintain a high four-year graduation rate. UT Austin aspires to have a second-year retention rate among FTIC students of 90% or higher.
|Freshman Cohort Year||FTIC Second-Year Retention Rate|
Number of bachelor’s degrees conferred
The Texas Higher Education Strategic Plan for 2015-2030, 60x30TX, set a goal that 60% of Texans would have a postsecondary degree by 2030. In order to achieve that goal, the plan calls for colleges and universities in Texas to increase enrollment and confer more degrees. As the state’s flagship University, UT Austin has an obligation to respond to that call, while maintaining an appropriate balance between increasing capacity and enhancing excellence. Thus, the University seeks to maximize enrollment within the upper limits of the campus’ physical space and instructional resources. To that end, UT Austin has set a goal of 9,500 bachelor’s degrees conferred annually.
|Academic Year||Number of Bachelor’s Degrees Conferred|
Number of graduate degrees conferred
For graduate student achievement, UT Austin tracks the number of degrees awarded. The University strives to award graduate degrees to approximately 2,900-3,000 master’s candidates and 800-900 doctoral candidates annually. These goals have been established with careful attention to balancing competitive financial aid packages against cohort size.
Licensure examination pass rates
The Graduate School also has set goals for licensure examination rates that relate to graduate and professional programs. The pass rates are evaluated through statewide comparisons. The expected level of achievement is that UT Austin student scores will fall at or above statewide levels. This standard reflects the university's competitive status compared to its state peers. The university's students consistently score above statewide averages.
In summary, these seven undergraduate and graduate student achievement measures allow UT Austin to evaluate success consistent with its mission.