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TCU set a goal in 2016: The university wanted at least 85% of students to graduate within six years. TCU has now exceeded the mark at 85.52%. 

鈥淭his is a remarkable achievement, especially when you consider that particular cohort 鈥 2017 鈥 felt the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic during their third and fourth years,鈥 said Cathan Coghlan, executive director of the Agile Analytics Initiative, and part of Project 85, the task force set with achieving the goal.   

鈥淭he good news is also that this appears not to be a one-year bump, but rather the first year of a new plateau of an 85 to 87% six-year graduation rate,鈥 Coghlan said. 鈥淭he 2018 and 2019 cohorts both appear to be on track for a graduation rate of at least 85% with five-year and four-year graduation rates of 84.5% and 75.4% respectively, both all-time highs for those time periods.鈥 

Kathy Cavins-Tull, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, was appointed to co-chair Project 85, which met intensively in the beginning to gather information and identify opportunities to provide additional student support. 

鈥淪everal initiatives evolved from this process,鈥 said Cavins-Tull. 鈥淔or instance, the initiation of the Student Success Center incorporated comprehensive tutoring, testing and academic coaching. We also introduced exit interviews, onboarded new advising software that allows us to better store and access information, and formalized the process of contacting students who had not registered for the upcoming semester. This combination of data, programs and personal connection really combined for success, in my opinion.鈥  

Other initiatives included an advanced registration campaign, an early-alert process for a targeted audience, faculty and staff mentors, a leave of absence option, transcript request alerts and researching where students go who leave TCU.  

鈥淲e have high hopes for our continued graduation rate. This year we reached a鈥first-year retention rate of 94.3%,鈥 Cavins-Tull said. 鈥淭his is such a testament to the combined efforts of our faculty, first-year programming and our engaged students, and I am confident that we will continue to make strides as we set our sights on our next goal for student success.鈥濃 

Next up? Project 90. The university will soon share plans on its goal to keep raising the bar and retain and graduate 90 percent of its students within six years.  

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