Yesterday North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani welcomed a new class of freshman students to his institution with a bald-faced lie.
“You are part of a family that is proud of this university, that is proud of you, and is going to welcome you and provide you with an experience over the next four years that will be the envy of your friends who went elsewhere,” Bresciani told the freshmen.
This is demonstrably untrue. A lot of these students aren’t going to make it four years, or they’ll end up putting in significantly more time and expense into getting their degrees.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Four years from now just roughly one in four of these freshmen students will have graduated. The rest will have either dropped out, transferred, or failed to complete their degree.[/mks_pullquote]
Four years from now just roughly one in four of these freshmen students will have graduated. The rest will have either dropped out, transferred, or failed to complete their degree. In six years, just slightly more than one in two of these freshmen will have completed their degrees at NDSU.
But those facts don’t make for a very pleasing welcome message, I suppose. Better to keep up the illusion that our four-year institutions of higher education are actually doing a good job of getting kids a degree in four years. Of course, that’s one of the problems in North Dakota’s university system.
They don’t live in the real world.
To be fair, NDSU does have the best four-year graduation rate among the four-year institutions in the university system, though that’s not saying much. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, NDSU’s four-year completion rate of 25.6 percent is slightly above UND’s 24.1 percent rate, and significantly above Valley City State (22.8 percent), Mayville State (20.9 percent), Dickinson State (15.3 percent), and Minot State (14.4 percent).
The average, on-time completion rate for four-year degrees in North Dakota’s four-year institutions just over 23 percent. The six year graduation rate (150 percent of degree time) is just over 50 percent.
Which is truly abysmal. In fact, compared to other states, North Dakota ranks near the bottom in terms of graduation rates at four-year institutions:
The two-year schools do slightly better. At the North Dakota State College of Science (Wahpeton) the on-time graduation rate is 38.4 percent, while at Williston State, Lake Region (Devils Lake), and Dakota College (Bottineau) the rates are 32.5 percent, 29.5 percent, and 24.1 percent respectively.
Overall about one in three students, or 33 percent, graduate on time at the state’s two-year colleges and about 41 percent graduate in three years.