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Utah Foundation Report Outlines Ways to Improve College Graduation Rates

Utah Foundation

New research on Utah’s higher education system is pointing out ways the state can improve its low college graduation rate.

Utah is 39th in the nation when it comes to obtaining bachelor’s degrees. And it takes Utah students longer to graduate.

Shawn Teigan is the principal research analyst for the Utah Foundation, which released a report on Tuesday called Steps Forward in Higher Ed. He says money is often a barrier to graduating, but it costs even more to delay graduation.

“Even if you’re not graduating or obtaining your certificate, you’re still paying for your education. One part of the problem is you’re incurring some debt. Another part of the problem is that the state in many instances is helping to pay for some of this education, even if you’re not graduating.”

The new report suggests incentivizing students to take at least 15 credit-hours per semester, creating graduation maps for students that detail the classes they need to take to graduate on time and providing more funding for schools who improve graduation rates.

Teigan noted Utah’s graduation rate delay is not due to the so-called “missionary effect,” in which students leave school for official church missionary service or military service. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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