THIBODAUX — Due to a successful transition to selective admissions, Nicholls State University posted the highest increase in graduation rates among Louisiana’s 12 public four-year universities that reported figures to the Louisiana Board of Regents.
According to the preliminary report, 41.88 percent of 2005 Nicholls first-time freshmen graduated from Nicholls or another state institution within six years. That’s nearly a 10 percentage-point increase over the university’s 2004 statewide graduation rate, which was 32.11 percent. Nicholls now has the highest graduation rate among Louisiana’s regional universities and the fourth highest among institutions statewide.
“Our graduation rate is the final bit of evidence, validating that the introduction of selective admissions in 2005 has been successful and students benefited from that move,” University President Stephen T. Hulbert said. “Graduation rates take a long time to measure [six years], but these most recent results definitively show that higher quality students are choosing Nicholls and that we’re providing the services needed to support their success.”
To prepare for the transition to selective admissions, Nicholls created University College, a portal of entry for all freshmen, in 2004. The college provides centralized academic advising, tutoring and writing assistance services as well as programs that engage students and enhance their first-year experience.
Nicholls’ graduation rate, which is higher than the University of Louisiana System average, illustrates that the university is increasing student success and institutional accountability, as required by the GRAD Act. By meeting these specific performance objectives, Nicholls gains the authority to adjust tuition and participate in certain autonomies, such as contract negotiation and technology purchasing authorities. The large jump in Nicholls’ 2005 graduation rate also helps explain the university’s decrease in overall enrollment.
“These are the students who are responsible for record-setting graduation rates over the past four years,” Hulbert said. “This is not a one-year anomaly; we know that our freshman classes since 2005 are progressing toward their degrees at even faster rates. Although our total enrollment has decreased, our first-time freshmen are up by 10 percent. Nicholls is attracting better-prepared students who are moving into the workforce quicker and making a positive impact in their communities.”