The university’s goal is tightening the admission requirements for incoming students in the fall of 2011 due to decreasing graduation rates since 2003. In addition, the change in admission requirements is aimed at achieving UTSA’s goal of becoming a tier one university.
According to College Rates, a government-based site, only eight percent of degree-seeking UTSA students who began in the fall of 2003 and graduated in four years. Only 28 percent of those student who began in 2003 graduated in six years.
“The governing bodies that oversee UTSA want to see that state monies are spent in an efficient way so if it’s taking students a tremendous amount of time to get through school, then they feel that a lot of resources might be wasted,” said Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs George Norton.
The graduation retention rate for students who began their studies in Fall 2008 and returned in Fall 2009 is 56 percent for full-time students and 54 percent for part-time students.
Texas State University-San Marcos has a 24 percent graduation rate for four-year students and 56 percent for six-year students who began in the fall of 2003. The University of the Incarnate Word has an 18 percent graduation rate for four-year students and a 43 percent graduation rate for six-year students who began in the fall of 2003.
Norton presented the First-Time Freshmen Admission Criteria Proposal to President Ricardo Romo this last year, which was approved. The proposal states that UTSA will enroll applicants who, in comparison with the current student population, have a greater likelihood of being retained and graduating in a timely manner.
UTSA’s mission statement states that the university prides itself on accessibility and excellence. Norton feels that the area of excellence will come from “better prepared students coming into UTSA and graduating in a more timely manner [which will show that] they’re benefiting from their program.” By providing students with access to these programs, UTSA has continued to honor its mission statement.
“Students who have a more difficult financial situation often are the ones that have to work the most hours to make ends meet so that they can get through school,” Norton said.
“Well, if those students can be assured that their tuition and fees are met, then they won’t have to work so much while attending college, and they can have more time to focus on their studies.”