What is Stay on TRACK?
The Stay on TRACK campaign is grounded in the philosophy that students and the university can take deliberate actions to help students graduate in a more timely manner, saving them money.
- Fall 2012 showed an overall 9.84% spike in students at the university enrolling in 15 or more credits.[i] The university believes there are several reasons for this significant increase, including promotion of the Stay on TRACK campaign but also increased funding from the Alaska Legislature for student advising; the 15-credit requirement for the Alaska Performance Scholarship; and several campus-based efforts to help full-time students graduate in a more timely manner.
- UA’s four year graduation rate for full-time students is 10 percent; the national average is 30 percent for first-time, full-time, baccalaureate degree-seeking freshmen. UA’s six year graduation rate is 28 percent; the national average for open admission institutions is 31 percent for first-time, full-time, baccalaureate degree-seeking freshmen.[ii] [iii]
- At UA, each additional 3-credit class per fiscal year a student takes raises a student’s probability of graduating with a bachelor degree in six years by eight percent.[iv]
- System wide 24.5% of University of Alaska students (8,234 students) take between 12-14 credits a semester, and 13.6% take 15+ credits a semester. Overall, 38.1% of students (12,810 students) take 12+ credits a semester.[v]
- Students who attempted 15 or more credit hours had a higher credit hour completion rate than those who attempted less than 15 credit hours. [vi]
- In the long term, students who attempt and earn at least 15 credit hours a semester perform significantly better than student who earn less than 15 credit hours a semester. First year retention is 23 percentage points greater for students who earned at least 15 credit hours than those that earned less. Graduation rates are 39 percentage points higher (over a ten year period) for students that earned at least 15 credits a semester than those who earned less.[vii]
- “Stay on TRACK” encourages students to take 30 credits a year, choose a major, meet with their advisor, consider summer enrollment, and use DegreeWorks at UAOnline.
- Students often consider enrollment in 12 credits a semester to be acceptable full time enrollment, and federal financial aid only requires enrollment in 12 credits. This campaign’s target is to shift the norm back to students taking 15 credits.
- The Alaska Performance Scholarship requires enrollment in 15 credits a semester in sophomore through senior year.
- Students need to make every credit count with the four year graduation clock ticking and credits costing $165/each or more.
- UAS offers sophomores, juniors, or seniors taking at least 15 credits towards their program of study at UAS the opportunity for a $500 tuition waiver.
- It is estimated that it costs a student an extra $10,000 to graduate in five years instead of four.
- The average annual starting salary for a UA graduate with a baccalaureate degree is $38,000.[viii]
- The “Stay on TRACK” website offers resources, such as checklists for freshman through senior years of action items to help graduate in time.
[i] Comparison of Fall 2011-2012 opening figures by UA Institutional Research & Analysis, July 9, 2013.
[ii] NCES: Table 341. Graduation rates of first-time postsecondary students who started as full-time degree-seeking students, by sex, race/ethnicity, time between starting and graduating, and level and control of institution where student started: Selected cohort entry years, 1996 through 2005.
[iii] Data supplied by MAUs via UA Information Systems: BANNER SI opening extracts fall 2000 - 2010. First-time, Full-time, Baccalaureate Degree-seeking Freshmen Percent Graduated in 4 Years from the UA System. First-time, Full-time, Baccalaureate Degree-seeking Freshmen Percent Graduated in 6 Years from the UA System. http://www.alaska.edu/swbir/ir/publications-reports/csrde_Fall_10.pdf
[iv] Credit Load Impact for Degree Seeking Freshmen, compiled by UA Institutional Research & Analysis, January 20, 2012.
[v] UA in Review 2013: Figure 10a Headcount by Student Credit Hour Load Fall 2012.
[vi] Comparative Analysis of UA Students by Credit Hour Load, Fall 2012. Compiled by UA Institutional Research & Analysis, July 2013.
[vii] Behavior of UA Students by Credit Hour Load, Fall 2001 Alaska High School First-time Freshmen, compiled by UA Institutional Research & Analysis. UA data supplied by MAUs via UA Information Systems: UA Decision Support Database (DSD) Closing Extracts FY2002-2012.
[viii] University of Alaska Graduate Survey, page 39. Compiled by the McDowell Group, March 2013.