Bits and Pieces:
Recently, I became frustrated after our university was listed as a “dropout factory” in a national report on graduation rates. Admittedly, UHD’s completion rates that are cited in the report from the nonprofit research group Third Way aren’t flattering. Still, they only tell part of our story - and not very well, I might add.
The statistics represented in the report represent only our First Time in College student population, just one-third of our total enrollment. About two-thirds of UHD students are transfers from other schools, and they have a 57 percent graduation rate.
It’s nice to be mentioned alongside Tier One universities, but our institution and its peers don’t have the same kinds of resources. In fact, we traditionally receive 69 cents for every dollar that goes to other universities. Also, we don’t have dorms or stadiums, nor do we receive funds from the Permanent University Fund, the public state endowment that supports only schools in the systems of the University of Texas and Texas A&M.
Each student has a different story to tell, but everyone’s main takeaway from this report is the mention of the nation’s “dropout factories.” Labels such as these are pejorative to the hard-working students here - and these are among the hardest-working students I’ve met. Our alums are police chiefs, lawyers, business leaders, doctors and teachers.
Accountability for institutions is important. But sometimes, numbers and statistics don’t completely reflect an institution’s successes. They certainly do not reflect the opportunities we provide. Reports such as this only provide a snapshot of what’s happening at institutions such as ours, and my hope is that further research will reflect the bigger picture.