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Monday, June 28, 2004

SU Graduation Rate Tops University System of Maryland

SALISBURY, MD---For the 17th consecutive year, Salisbury University has the highest four-year graduation rate in the University System of Maryland. SU also boasts the System's highest five-year graduation rate for the 12th consecutive year and the highest six-year graduation rate for the ninth straight year.

According to Bryan Price, director of institutional research, 53.4 percent of students starting as freshmen at Salisbury in fall 1999 graduated in 2003. That number eclipses the national average of 34.2 percent in 2001, the most recent national average calculated by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

SU's six-year graduation rate, at 73.1 percent, is up more than 20 percent from 1981. That is 17.8 percentage points higher than the 2001 national average of 55.3 percent, according to the NCES Web site. According to U.S. News & World Report, nationally, SU has the seventh highest average six-year graduation rate among comprehensive public master's universities. Additionally, SU has the third highest six-year graduation rate among African Americans in the USM, at 54.3 percent.

Price attributed these successes to several factors, including SU's advising program and course availability. Graduation rates also remain high at SU due to high student retention, he said.

"Students who are attracted to Salisbury University are a good match," Price said. "They choose to stay here and move through their programs quickly. In fact, as high as these numbers are compared to national and state norms, they hide an equally significant indicator of success.

“Since most students who leave the University do so the first year, they have a significant impact on decreasing any institution's graduation rates. Without a national database to track educational persistence, we never know whether or not they return to college unless they do so within the Maryland public higher education system.

“At SU, of the students who persist to graduation, on average 67 percent complete their degree in four years, while fully 90 percent complete their degree in five."

Other factors responsible for SU's success include its small-school feel, small classes, approachable professors and good value, he added.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.



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