At Michigan State, we believe every student we admit has the ability to succeed and graduate. We feel a sense of urgency to improve graduation rates, because a college degree is the best route to individual opportunity and an educated workforce strengthens Michigan and the nation. By 2030, we will increase the 6-year graduation rate by 5% to 86%.
Student success is the measure of an institution’s ability to provide an inclusive, equitable curriculum and environment with the academic, social, wellness and financial support that enables all students to learn, thrive, persist, graduate and succeed after graduation.
Understood this way, student success is not a measure of the academic achievement of either individual students or students collectively; rather, measures like academic standing, persistence, graduation, sense of belonging, engagement, time-to-degree and placement rate indicate how well an institution supports its students.
MSU has been a leader in student success initiatives for more than a decade. As a member of the University Innovation Alliance, we have been part of a group of collaborative innovators determined to share knowledge and scale successes to better serve students, raise graduation rates and create equitable educational outcomes. MSU’s introduction of the Neighborhoods concept in 2010 — bringing together key resources and services students need within easy walking distance of the areas where they live — began a deep collaboration between Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Residential and Hospitality Services that has continued to improve practices and services with a holistic view of student success.
Six years ago, a data-gathering and analysis effort uncovered opportunity gaps among our students as well as a decade-long trend of undergraduates taking longer to complete degrees. Further analyses revealed students who maintained steady momentum toward degrees with enough credit hours for on-time completion — regardless of demographic or academic characteristics — had higher rates of persistence and graduation. The credit momentum campaign, Go Green, Go 15, implemented in 2017, illustrates MSU’s capacity to dramatically improve student success with data-informed efforts. Redesign of mathematics general education and other gateway courses as well as work to recognize and support students of varied identities and background also have contributed to improved persistence and graduation rates.
MSU’s student success efforts are predicated on the belief that every student MSU admits has the capacity to learn, thrive and graduate, and that we can eliminate opportunity gaps with focused effort. We are diversifying the role we play in the pipeline that produces talent for Michigan and provides benefits for individuals as we enhance support for transfer students and relationships with community colleges. By focusing on graduating the students we admit, whether they begin as first-year or transfer, MSU is committed to making a lifelong difference. According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, bachelor’s degree holders earn 81% more than those with just a high school diploma and 34% more than those with an associate degree.
Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us both the power and limitations of online learning and highlighted the role of in-person classes and the residential experience in student satisfaction and success. We will enhance the total student experience at MSU recognizing that learning and growth take place beyond the classroom and that connecting to athletics, arts, student-directed clubs and more make up the full richness of what it means to be a student at MSU. We will optimize all modes of learning at MSU and achieve new highs in graduation rates and postgraduate success. We will partner with government and business leaders to better identify the skill sets and experiences our graduates need to succeed in the new economy.
Goal: Provide an exceptional educational experience for all students that prepares them for postgraduate success, achieving high graduation rates with no opportunity gaps
Strengthen MSU’s ability to attract and meet the needs, goals and aspirations of dynamic undergraduate students from all backgrounds
Increase access to and successful completion of highly ranked graduate and professional education by an increasingly diverse population of students
Increase the number and diversity of learners we serve through an online learning strategy that provides wider access through targeted programs
Strengthen each student’s educational experience to eliminate opportunity gaps and support success through graduation and beyond
Provide a positive climate and holistic support throughout the student experience, understanding that providing high-quality out-of-classroom experiences and care are essential to student success
We know each student’s college experience extends beyond coursework and a GPA to encompass valuable experiences and engagement outside the classroom, including leadership programs, research opportunities, internships, employment, service-learning and more.
MSU’s award-winning Student Success Initiative aims to increase graduation rates and close opportunity gaps for all students, including first-generation, low-income and historically underrepresented populations.