Getting smart, getting out – in record time
Undergraduates are graduating in fewer semesters and higher numbers

By Janet Gilmore, Public Affairs

22 January 2003 | Graduation rates are at an all-time high, according to data released last week by campus administrators. More students are obtaining their bachelor’s degrees, and an increasing number are doing so in record time.
The data show the following:

* Students are graduating in fewer semesters. Among the students who entered as freshmen and graduated in the 2001-02 school year, 73 percent did so in eight or fewer semesters — a record number for such graduates.

* Students with double majors are graduating sooner. Data show that 61.3 percent of them are graduating in eight or fewer semesters — another record number.
* More students are graduating. A record 67.5 percent of those who entered Berkeley as freshmen in the 2001-02 class graduated in four and a half years, up from 65.6 percent the previous year. Further, 81.4 percent graduated in five years, up from 78.6 the previous year.

* The average “time to degree” for entering freshmen has also set records. Freshmen who entered Berkeley in fall 1996 have lowered the average time to degree to a record 4.31 years, down from 4.34 years for the previous year.

* The average time to degree for transfer students has been lowered. Students who transferred to Berkeley from community colleges in 1998 lowered the average time to degree to a record 2.36 years, down from 2.40 years for the previous year.

Richard Black, assistant vice chancellor for admissions and enrollment, believes the trend reflects a number of positive developments. More students, he says, are attending summer sessions, thanks to state funding and other initiatives designed to boost summer enrollment. Campus staff are working more closely with students to ensure that they are meeting the course requirements for their majors and their colleges. And more classes are being offered to students in the most populated majors, Black says.

“We’re heartened that our long-term efforts to assist students in graduating in four years are paying off,” says Black. “This allows room for more students to have an opportunity to obtain a Berkeley education.”

In fact, campus administrators believe, this trend provides a wide range of benefits. Seniors who graduate can avoid fee increases. Administrators have more spaces to offer to new freshmen and college transfer students. The faster graduation rates also assist the campus in keeping enrollment totals in line with commitments to the city of Berkeley.


Home | Search | Archive | About | Contact | More News

Copyright 2002, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.

Comments? E-mail