EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University's graduation rates increased for the seventh year in a row. It's all part of the university's campus wide strategic plan.
MSU's six-year graduation rates increased from 81 percent to 82.3 percent, but it didn't happen overnight. The university had to make some changes.
"Those changes that we've implemented include a number of things ranging from removal of our remedial math courses, which we replaced with more quantitative literacy courses," said university spokemsan Dan Olsen.
The university has also implemented a requirement that students live in campus housing for their first two years, which Olsen said has been proven to improve graduation rates compared to student who live off campus. The results of that change, which went into effect this year, wouldn't be reflected in the latest graduation statistics.
"In James Madison, they were like you need to get it together, you're an adult, now, it's time to start owning up to your actions and doing the things that you need to do, period. And that was a wake up call for me," sai Miyanna Fowlkes, who graduated from MSU in 2021.
Fowlkes believes being in the living-learning community of MSU's James Madison College kept her focused.
"Being able to go upstairs and make an appointment with your dean at any time made a huge impact on my graduation time," she said.
Olsen also credited flat rate tuition with getting students through faster. Instead of paying per credit hour, they can take up to 15 credits for a flat tuition rate.
But disparities remain. Asian and white students had graduation rates of 85 percent or higher, while Black and Native American student graduation rates stand at 65 percent.
Latino and Hispanic students' graduation rates are at 72 percent.
"We recognize the opportunity gap that exists within our marginalized communities," Olsen said. "And that is something we are steadfastly focused on improving."
MSU aims to raise the six-year graduation rate for undergraduate students to 86 percent by 2030.