Illinois State University’s graduation rate has climbed to 71.5 percent, which puts it in the top 10 percent of public and private universities nationwide. That’s the university’s highest graduation rate in recent history, up 2.7 percent in the last five years. The national average is 56 percent for public universities, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
“Our students finish their degrees,” said President Timothy Flanagan. “That’s one of our primary goals, to graduate students on time by providing them with the individualized attention and support they need to satisfy the requirements of their major and get started on their careers.”
Graduating on time also means students leave with lower debt and start earning sooner, said Troy Johnson, Illinois State’s associate vice president of enrollment management. Less debt also means graduates are better able to pay off their loans. More than 96 percent meet their loan obligations.
“This speaks to our affordability,” Johnson said. “Our students don’t spend extra time and money working toward their degree. They’re getting jobs.”
What also contributes to the rising graduation rate is the academic quality of the student body, he added. The average ACT of the freshman class was 24 with a high school grade point average of 3.41 on a 4.0 scale. “We are attracting top students committed to their education,” Johnson said. “That makes for a very rich learning environment.”