Wayne State University has the lowest graduation rate for public universities in Michigan, but federal data shows it's improving in that area faster than any public university in the country.
The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System shows that Wayne State’s graduation numbers went from 26 percent in 2011 to 47 percent in 2017.
The graduation rate for black students has tripled during this time, while the rate for first-generation students also improved rapidly.
Monica Brockmeyer, the Senior Assistant Provost of Student Success at Wayne State, says it took a lot to improve the six year graduation rate from 26 percent to 47 percent.
“The biggest single part of it was the hiring of 45 academic advisors, and so we doubled our advising capacity on campus,” Brockmeyer said.
Alicia Ortez, an academic advisory in the schools of Economics and Criminal Justice at Wayne State, says bringing on more advisors helped to address the needs of more students on campus.
Ortez works with students on building graduation plans and finding their career goals.
“So by the end of [a student’s] sophomore year, they will hopefully know where they want to go, how to get there, and how long it will take for them to get a degree,” she said.
Brockmeyer says the university wants to see 50 percent of its students graduating in six years by 2021.
“But we’re expecting very much to achieve it early. Likely next year, in 2019,” she said.