A recently published report on six-year graduation rates found that Murray State University was a leader when comparing its six-year graduation rates to other public institutions in Kentucky. The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) used federal data as its source.

The most recent IPEDS (2008-09) reported Murray State with the highest six-year graduation rate of the regional public universities in the Commonwealth.

The data also tracked the university’s success in the past 10 years, showing Murray with the highest six-year graduation rate increase among the regional publics since the year 2000.

The latest data on graduation rates in 2009 shows Murray State’s graduation rate increased from 48.9 percent to 49.6 percent.

“While many universities have focused so much attention on enrollment, we have a plan in place for retention that has been effective,” said Dr. Randy Dunn, MSU president. “One quality of our brand that I believe stands out over others is the personal attention we give our students. Part of that is making sure they are on the right path to realize their goals and future careers, which includes a diploma.”

Dr. Bonnie Higginson, MSU provost, said the numbers are a result of 15 years of a focused effort at MSU to retain students by the faculty, staff and administration to “provide the kind of support and service they need to graduate.”

“Part of that, I think, is the Residential College system, smaller class sizes and personalized services. All of those contribute to our strong graduation rate.”

Higginson said that while she is happy to see the improved numbers, she and the faculty, staff and administration at MSU will continue to seek to improve the graduation rate.

Council spokeswoman Sue Patrick said most universities have increased enrollment by 40 percent over the past 10 years. With larger student bodies, she credited Murray State for focusing on the individual student to ensure success.

A statement provided by MSU said the faculty and administration at the university place a priority on not only increasing enrollment, but also following up with successful graduation rates. These priorities directly address the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education’s Double the Numbers initiative, which promotes doubling the number of baccalaureate degree holders living in Kentucky by the year 2020.

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