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UW Awards Record 2,860 Degrees in 2015-16

October 19, 2016
woman in cap and gown being hugged by someone else in a cap and gown
Destiny Rudolph, of Cheyenne, receives a hug from a faculty member during the UW College of Education commencement ceremony in May. A record 2,860 degrees were awarded by the university during the 2015-16 academic year. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming granted a record 2,860 degrees in the past academic year, including an all-time high of 2,159 bachelor’s degrees.

The increases reflect the university’s efforts to improve student retention and completion.

“We are delighted that more and more students are leaving the University of Wyoming with degrees that lead to high-paying jobs, employment security and rich, fulfilling lives,” UW President Laurie Nichols says. “As we increase our efforts to enroll more students and help them succeed, we expect the number of graduates to continue rising.”

The 2,860 degrees granted in the 2015-16 academic year broke the record of 2,810 set in 2011-12 and was up from 2,767 in the 2014-15 academic year. Likewise, the 2,159 bachelor’s degrees in the past year broke the record of 2,062 in 2011-12 and increased from 2,022 in 2014-15.

UW also granted 93 doctoral degrees in 2015-16, second only to 103 in 2013-14.

UW’s fall enrollment record was set in fall semester 2012, when 13,929 students were enrolled. Since then, UW’s freshman retention rate has increased from 73.9 percent to 76.4 percent, and its five-year graduation rate has gone from 60.6 percent to 62.2 percent.

“Significant efforts have been made to help students succeed at UW, including enhanced tutoring and early interventions for struggling students,” Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Anne Alexander says. “These investments are paying off for our students, and we intend to do even more to lift our retention and completion rates.”

Those efforts include more program-level articulation agreements with community colleges, assuring that transfer students will have taken the correct courses to graduate on time at UW; enhanced advising; a newly streamlined and simplified general studies program; and four-year curriculum maps for every major.

According to the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard, UW’s overall graduation rate of 54 percent exceeds the national average of 42 percent, and its freshman retention rate of 76.4 percent tops the national average of 68 percent.

In addition, the average annual salary for new UW graduates -- $46,100 -- is significantly above the national average of $33,400 for college graduates. And 55 percent of those receiving UW bachelor’s degrees graduate with no student loan debt, 23 percent higher than the national average.

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