News, On campus

Tech’s graduation rate sets record

Tech announced its highest six-year graduation rate ever, the University said in a news release on  Thursday, Oct. 7.

According to a report from President Phil Oldham, the six-year graduation rate hit 60% for students who started in the fall of 2015. This is a 3% increase from last year’s six-year graduation rate of 57%.

In 2019, Tech released a set of goals for the University to reach by 2025, which included increasing graduation rates, retention rates and enrollment. Achieving a 60% six-year graduation rate marks the first time the University has completed one of their goals from the 2019 list.

Since the goals were introduced, Tech has made significant strides towards reaching them, including the most recent implementation of the Launchpad Student Success Center earlier this year.

The Launchpad Student Success Center was created with the purpose of advising first-year freshmen and undecided students. The center also assists students in preparing them for career readiness.

Tech’s efforts have not been in vain. In the most recent College Salary Report by PayScale, Tech was found to have the second highest early career pay out of all Tennessee universities, with only Vanderbilt preceding it. The median salary for alumni with less than five years of experience is $58,400.

“We continue to offer students the best return on their educational investment of any public university in Tennessee,” Oldham said in the news release. “This is a combination of factors, including our affordability, our strong retention efforts, our high graduation rate and our track record of career placement.”

While graduation rates continue to rise, the retention rates for first-time freshmen, however, dropped 4.6% since last year, according to a report from the University’s Office of Institutional Assessment, Research, and Effectiveness. In 2020, the retention rate was 77.5%, but it is now 72.9%. Tech also conferred over 2,420 degrees during the 2020-21 academic year.