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UNO, UNK graduation rates higher than peer institutions; UNL's lower

UNO, UNK graduation rates higher than peer institutions; UNL's lower

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LINCOLN — University of Nebraska leaders on Friday reported graduation rates for NU's three undergraduate campuses.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska at Kearney reported six-year graduation rates for 2010-11 that were higher than the average rates of comparable institutions.

Though the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's graduation rates have reached record levels, they remain below the average of comparable institutions.

The NU Board of Regents has set a goal for all three campuses to maintain graduation rates equal to or above the average of universities designated as peers.

At UNK, 60.6 percent of students who enrolled in 2005-06 had graduated by 2010-11, compared with an average of 51.2 percent of students at comparable institutions.

At UNO, 43 percent of students graduated within six years, a decline from the previous year but slightly above the 42.6 percent average of peer institutions.

At UNL, 66.7 percent of students graduated within six years, an increase of 2.5 percentage points from 2009-10 but still lower than the 70 percent average of comparable institutions, which include a mix of Big Ten and Big 12 Conference colleges.

All three campuses also reported improvements in the percentage of students graduating within four years, although the proportion remains comparatively small. Looking at students who started college in 2005, UNL's four-year rate was 31.6 percent, UNK's was 22.5 percent and UNO's 15.3 percent.

In fall 2011, the regents approved a policy limiting requirements for most degrees to 120 credit hours, which would allow students who take 15 credits per semester to graduate in four years. Four-year graduation rates also were a campaign issue last year, when Regents Jim Pillen of Columbus, Hal Daub of Omaha and Lavon Heidemann of Elk Creek were elected and Regent Bob Whitehouse of Papillion was re-elected.

Officials at the three campuses said they are working to improve graduation rates.

UNK has an early warning referral system to trigger help when students first get into academic trouble. The school also improved first-year advising and services, especially for those without a major.

“We're not satisfied with the numbers,” said Charles Bicak, senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at UNK.

Contact the writer: 402-473-9581,

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