UT System News Media Advisory

University of Texas System to Host Conference on Graduation Rates

AUSTIN - National elected leaders and organizations that rank higher education institutions have long looked at four-year graduation rates as indicators of an institution's efficiency.  State leaders have recently focused on Texas' low college graduation rates, particularly four-year graduation rates at all public universities in the state and nationally.  In anticipation of an initiative to span the nine academic institutions within The University of Texas System, the UT System Administration's Office of Academic Affairs is hosting a conference on the University of Texas at Dallas campus to review significant research findings and share best practices.  This conference is for college administrators, counselors and student affairs staff from the academic universities within the UT System.

"The Closing the Gaps initiative emphasizes student success and access. This represents our effort to make a sustained contribution to student success," said Teresa A. Sullivan, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. "We understand that graduation rates are a complex issue.  The rates involve both student volition and institutional factors. To the extent UT institutions can change institutional factors by lowering barriers or accelerating progress, that's what we're trying to do in the UT System."

The one-day conference will take place on Friday, September 30, at the School of Management on the UT Dallas campus.

UT System and campus administrators participating in the conference will take reporters' questions at a media availability beginning at 1:30 p.m.   Reporters interested in participating in the availability should contact Cile Spelce at (512) 499-4794 by Thursday, September 29.

The UT System is one of the nation's largest higher education systems with 15 campuses, including nine academic and six health institutions, and an annual operating budget of $9.6 billion (FY 2006). Student enrollment is projected to exceed 185,000 in the 2005 academic year. The UT System confers one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates three-fourths of Texas health care professionals. With more than 76,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in Texas.

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