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Friday, April 12, 2024

UW-Madison graduation rates break records

The number of graduating students and conferred degrees narrowly beat previous years to set new all-time highs.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison experienced a record-breaking year for graduation rates and other student outcomes for the 2022-23 school year.

UW-Madison saw its highest-ever four-year and six-year graduation rates, the largest bachelor’s and master’s degree rates and the shortest ever time-to-degree period, according to a UW-Madison news release

The six-year graduation rate saw an increase of 89.2% to 89.3%, based on freshmen entering in fall of 2017. The four-year graduation rate — referring to freshmen who entered in fall of 2019 — saw a larger improvement, rising from 75.1% to 75.5%. 

UW-Madison also awarded its highest-ever number of degrees in a year. The university awarded 8,094 bachelor’s degrees and 2,840 master’s degrees in 2023, making up a total of 12,407 with additional doctorate degrees accounted for. 

In terms of undergraduate time-to-degree statistics, students achieved the lowest-ever time period to complete a “typical” four-year degree in 2023 at 3.84 years. That’s a slight increase from 2022’s 3.85 years and a significant increase from 2018, when the average sat at 4.01 years.

Completing an undergraduate within four years can save money on tuition and launch a career more quickly, according to the UW System. The longer a student spends earning an undergraduate degree, the less likely graduation becomes. 

Administrators have encouraged a four-year degree path through programming like 15 to Finish, which encourages students to take 15 credits per semester. 

UW-Madison Provost Charles Isbell credited campus employees and a competitive admissions process for the consistently growing metrics. 

“These metrics are excellent news, not only for our students but also for Wisconsin’s families and our state workforce,” Isbell said.

UW-Madison’s graduation rates continue to stand out from other schools within the UW System. 

The two UW System schools closest behind UW-Madison in graduation rates are UW-La Crosse and UW-Eau Claire. Four-year graduation rates at UW-La Crosse for freshmen entering in fall 2018 sat at 51.4%, while UW-Eau Claire’s rates sat at 43.8% for the same time period, according to UW System data.  

In terms of graduation rates of underrepresented minorities, UW-Madison continues leading with a graduation rate of 64.7%, ahead of both UW-La Crosse at 34.3% and UW-Eau Claire at 25.8%. 

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