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Major university launches initiative to improve graduation rate and identify potential dropouts

It’s easy to forget in the middle of manufactured outrage over “systemic racism” and “safe space” violations that students are supposed to graduate from college and enter the real world.

Under its new president, the University of Oregon is committing $17 million to pushing students out the door with a degree rather than a nothing-to-show-for-it load of debt.

Some of the initiatives sound like typical university pablum – promoting “racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender diversity” to give students a “supportive environment” – but others are more tangible.

UO said in a press release today it’s expanding its PathwayOregon program that covers full tuition and fees for “Pell Grant-eligible freshman Oregonians” by 30 percent, using a new $25 million donation from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife (a UO trustee) and new state funding for “additional academic advisors.”

It’s also giving “graduation completion grants” to more than 100 upperclassmen a year who are “at the highest risk for dropping out for financial reasons.”

On the bureaucracy front, the school is hiring a new $500,000-a-year “associate vice president for student success” whose job will be leading retention activities. President Michael Schill’s goal is to raise UO’s graduation rate by 10 percentage points in the next five years.

It’s also committing $230,000 a year to “Web-based tracking and analytics” to coordinate support and resources for students at risk of dropping out for academic or financial reasons.

Read Schill’s full statement and watch the full video from the initiative’s unveiling.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg Piper served as associate editor of The College Fix from 2014 to 2021.