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Topic: University of Washington Tacoma

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January 21, 2015 at 5:00 AM

Why is UW Tacoma’s graduation rate low?

UW-Tacoma campus. Photo by Lindsey Wasson / The Seattle Times 2014.

UW-Tacoma campus. Photo by Lindsey Wasson / The Seattle Times 2014.

During a University of Washington Board of Regents meeting this month, regent Joanne Harrell raised questions about UW Tacoma’s low graduation rates, one of the lowest among public four-year schools in the state.

Turns out that the university is showing steady improvement, but its latest graduation rates aren’t yet available on websites that compile those statistics.

In 2012, UW Tacoma’s six-year graduation rate was just 43 percent — that is, just 43 percent of first-time, full-time students graduated from the school after six years. But UW Tacoma spokesman Mike Wark said that number was likely affected by the relatively new experience of having students on campus for all the years of their schooling.  (UW Tacoma only began accepting freshmen in 2006.)

For 2014, the school’s six-year graduation rate was 52 percent, he said. And for students who transfer to UW Tacoma from other schools (such as community colleges), the graduation rate is 90 percent.

That’s slightly better than the national graduation average of 51 percent of those who start at a public four-year institution and complete their degree at that same school.

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