Comments about ‘UVU, Dixie search for solutions to retention, graduation rates’

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Innovative program increases student-counselor contact

Published: Saturday, March 30 2013 5:30 p.m. MDT

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the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

Just focus on teaching. I know my own community college experience was mixed with good and really poor instructors.

The attitude of the staff is apparent when they reserve all the good parking spaces for themselves and leave half of them empty all the time.

Lightening Lad
Austin , TX

Of all the zillions of American public Universities and Colleges, Utah Valley University has the honor of having the 6th WORST GRAD rate according to the Council on Higher Education. This kind of changes the complexion of what the school really is, I'm thinking Adult Day-Care, maybe The Geneva Drop-Out Factory. How inspiring it must be to have 30 anxious fresh face 18 yr olds pile into Mr. Snurklesnitz's freshman English class knowing 85% of them are just there to take up space.

Worst state university graduation rates
Vincennes University, 0 percent
University of Houston-Downtown, 12.4 percent
Texas Southern University, 13.3 percent
Chicago State University, 13.9 percent
Cameron University, 14.1 percent
Utah Valley University, 15 percent

arewethereyet
Parowan, UT

@Lightening Lad:

Exceptional point....yet, the Utah County-led legislative leadership continues to focus a disproportionate amount of funding on both UVU and DSU because of their gaudy enrollment growth numbers......as if outcomes don't matter! The retention rates and 6 year graduation rates at both of these institutions will likely take a further hit with the change in missionary ages. UVU and Dixie have both been viewed as "starter" institutions....and when a more mature student returns from his/her LDS mission, they will seek a higher quality alternative that is away from home. While it is hard to imagine the possibility of a 15% 6 year graduation rate heading further south, my guess is that it won't be heading north anytime soon.

SUU, on the other hand, is an institution with a diametrically opposite story. SUU's 6 year graduation rate is rising....sitting at just about 50%, with an historic 66% Freshman retention rate. Is it too much to ask our legislature to focus on maximizing our ROI in Higher Education instead of simply maximizing our investment?

Lightening Lad
Austin , TX

By comparison ....
BYU- 78.1 percent
U of U 56.4 percent
Utah State 54.6 percent
Weber St 40.6 percent

No question the higher education model is broken despite the "gift" the state receives from BYU Provo/Idaho. Rather than waste all the money UVU is allocated, two cummunity colleges should have been built in Spingville/Spanish Fork and Lehi\AF. Utah has just too many 4 yr colleges along with JC's set far outside the urban centers. Arizona with 3 times the population and 3 state universities, Colorado 4. UVU is unfixiable without any feeder JC's. it will remain Adult Day Care and an embarrassment.

southmtnman
Provo, UT

As a UVU graduate, to be fair, both UVU and Dixie college have long traditions as trade schools that have focused on two-year degrees, trade certifications, and teaching programs that provide a working skill in industries that have traditionally not valued the graduate credential. For decades, they have taught mostly students who were not interested in graduating with a "degree", but were interested in getting sufficient skills to work a job.

And both schools have only recently moved to university status. Criticisms that fail to take these historical realities into account are biased and untruthful. Nobody can just flick a switch and magically transform a trade school and its student population into a four-year degree school with high graduation rates.

And on the bright side, because of it legacy in the trades, at UVU you can get an education in the "theory" while actually being able to DO something; unlike many other schools in the state where all you get is high-sounding theory that is good for very little.

Just my 2 cents.

ManInTheMiddle
SANDY, UT

Lightening Lad - thanks for the stats - wow.

arewethereyet - Isn't it safe to say that 6 year graduation rates will get better because of the new mission ages? There are many BYU grads who are Ivy league caliber who don't graduate from BYU in 6 years. Because of the way their mission is timed, some take 5 semesters off for their missions - so even though these students graduate after 8 semesters of classes they don't finish in 6 years (or if they take 9 semesters to graduate plus a mission they don't graduate in 6 years).

Since most Elders won't start college before their missions their 6 year clock won't start until after their missions. Most who graduate from college will do so in under 6 years (especially after receiving the discipline/training provided by their missions).

I was thinking that the new mission/age rules will actually INCREASE BYU's national rank because so many more of their students will now graduate in 4 years (currently a big negative score for BYU from college ranking organizations)

My2Cents
Taylorsville, UT

The education systems in Utah haven't noticed there is a national trend that maximizing personal investment on marginal educations and degrees of no value are beginning to awaken new generations of young adults. Education has become and albatross that takes 15-30 years to pay off on poverty incomes and poverty living conditions in Utah.

Higher education has become a banking industry where cash rollover on borrowed cash is floating bailout with student debt. Investors are happy and thats all that matters to corporate education.

Searching for retention and graduation rates is not about students or education, its about loans and financial scams perpetrated by colleges for High school level training and no skilled graduates by educators that have never had a job skill.

Education and the economy in Utah have no relative association and when people drop out of high cost borrowing its a financial bust for the schools. Looking at the list of popular and easy degrees offered are for socialized governemnt positions in limited career choices. Science and skilled labor are not on the menu or list of degrees.

Why should students spend years of training in college for jobs that don't exist or require a degree?

Max
Charlotte, NC

On the other hand, graduation rates are not the final word in student quality. A lot of really good students plan to transfer from day one. They never intended to graduate. However, having enrollment standards is a really good idea. Too many students enroll just to get financial aid. They have no idea why they are there and all the counseling in the world won't change that. College isn't for everybody.

CougarBlue
Heber City, UT

The fact we have high school graduates who still need remediation tells me we have lazy high school students who are not very serious about their education. I doubt these student spent more than 30 minutes a night studying. They probably crammed for exams and forget this temporary knowledge. I feel every high school freshman should take a class on study skills and if they are still not successful a parent meeting is held where it is laid out what the parent needs to do to metaphorically kick their child's rearend. Poor grades, no job in high school, no drivers license, no sports, no attendance at dances. Too many are looking for the fun life.

Ricardo Carvalho
Provo, UT

arewethereyet please check the actual per student tax dollars available at each institution before spouting off. Is it just possible that UVU's state lagging space and legislative dollars might have something to do with the services available to struggling students? You will also recall that when a certain governor was in place, SUU came in for way more than its fair share of capital expenditure dollars.

Paul Scholes
Provo, UT

To the last commenter - It may be worth noting that SUU is not an open admissions institution. The legislature could certainly increase retention rates simply by admitting those students who are best prepared for university studies. Would it surprise anyone that Harvard would have a high graduation rate? Open admissions institutions such as UVU, however, serve a different function. Some students fail due to lack of preparation. It seems that President Holland and his team are committed to helping such students self-identify earlier and find better alternatives that don't consume so much in tax or personal dollars. Some students complete two year degrees instead of bachelors degrees. That is a success as well that does not show up in the numbers. Some students take longer to finish as schools like UVU attract a large number of non-traditional students who take only a few courses per year while they work and raise families.

Can UVU do better at graduating students? I suspect it can. Does a single number tell the whole story? Probably not.

Wildfan
Ogden, UT

@ Arewethereyet:

Are you suggesting Utah invest more in schools like SUU? Cedar City does not have the same number of high risk students like first generation, low income and multicultural students that the Wasatch Front does. What SUU does have is a lot of residential students there either on scholarship or mom and dad's dime, not having nearly as difficult a time finishing school.

No one has a college degree handed to them, but some students have much tougher obstacles than others, and SLCC and UVU have more of these students than anyone in Utah. I'm sure more can be done by these schools, but comparing apples to oranges and suggesting giving more resources to the oranges is foolish.

And despite recent increases, college in Utah is still very affordable. The real problem is for-profit schools costing the government millions in student aid then offering crap degrees no employer values. If you don't know who I'm talking about, their commercials run night and day.

SanDimasHighSchoolFootballRules
Parowan, UT

Ultimately, the point of my comment is really that the number of funded four year institutions in Utah is ridiculously high. The community college model is really closer to what UVU operates in, but the Utah legislature is fixated on making UVU fit into a four year model and now a University model. DSU becoming a four year institution and now a University was a decision that was not made out of a need for four-year institution seats in the state, but resulted from the political capabilities of local legislators.

The argument that we need to give disadvantaged students access to higher education is not one that should result in funding such a high number of 4 year institutions.....it begs for more community colleges and applied technology colleges. Once a disadvantaged student finds success in a community college or an ATC, they can easily transition to a 4 year school. Utah is diluting its ability to effectively invest in appropriate levels of higher eduction by funding Dixie and UVU in its current and expected future operations. The ultimate losers become the students and the "payors" for these students (parents/government) who do not get what they pay for.

  • 4:45 p.m. March 31, 2013
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mhilton
Lancaster, CA

The one thing that is different at BYU than these other schools is that essentially, every student is required to have a minor in Religion..that is, they are required to take several credits ( I think it's 14 but not positive) of religion courses, in addition to their major requirements, GE's and any other minor they choose. So that factors in to the length of time that it takes to graduate. I do believe that he recent mission age change will decrease the amount of time it takes to graduate at any of these schools, because, in most cases, schooling will not be interrupted by the mission, but instead, will be after the mission. I do think that Utah does need more JC status schools since turning UVU into a full-fledged university. There are many that want an advanced education but simply can't hack the intense environment of a university. Luckily for us, LDS BC is taking up that slack.

Tilka
PORTLAND, OR

Neither of these schools were ready to become 4 year institutions. They are now paying the price.

worf
Mcallen, TX

Blame it on bad teachers, and make them accountable.

Like other schools through out the country. Teachers want to hold their jobs, and will let students pass without earning it. Students get a free ride.

That's why half our students entering college need remedial classes, and why half our college graduates are from other countries. Our people are becoming ignorant, and dependent on government.

How's those standardized tests working out? Really creating learners, isn't it?

Y-Ask-Y?
Provo, UT

Judging by some of the comments, I am inclined to think Texas needs some remedial education for some folks.

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