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Salem State University’s six-year graduation rate for the 2017-2018 academic year has risen to 58 percent, a six-point increase over the past year. In an 11-year period, Salem State’s graduation rate has increased by 21 percentage points.
While the university’s 58 percent graduation rate refers to first-time students only, Salem State’s graduation rate for students who transfer to the university was 70 percent for the 2017-2018 academic year.
“The hard work and commitment of our students, faculty and staff has put our graduation rate on an impressive upward trajectory,” said Salem State University President John Keenan. “This growth speaks not only to the resources that our campus community provides, but to the commitment our students have to their own success.”
Salem State’s graduation rate increase throughout recent years is unique to a small percentage of colleges and universities. According the most recently available (2016) data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Salem State is among the top 7% of four-year institutions nationwide when it comes to graduation rate increases.
Addressing efforts to increase Salem State’s graduation rate, Executive Vice President Scott James referenced student success and retention initiatives, including a cross-campus collaboration around affordability, class registration, and dissemination of information on support services. An early alert tool is also used to identify at-risk students and provide additional support and guidance with targeted messaging and outreach.
“Student success is our top priority at Salem State. New and redirected resources have enabled us to launch new initiatives and to reinforce those we know help improve student outcomes. Every resource allocation decision at the university is measured against the question, ‘Will this help our students to succeed?’, said Scott James, executive vice president.
In 2016, Salem State University announced that its six-year graduation rate had exceeded 50 percent for the first time, having risen to 52 percent. Salem State University’s strategic plan sets the goal of a 62 percent graduation rate for first-time, full-time students by 2021.