Faculty and Staff - February 4, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

The good news continues as our latest release highlights below. I mentioned at the State of the University address in October that we were expecting strong results this year for our 6-year graduation rate, a Winthrop Plan Goal One metric.

The 2013 first-time freshman cohort’s success so far, detailed in the release, should make us all proud. As of December 2018, 61.4 percent of the cohort had graduated within six years, the highest rate ever, or at least the highest as far back as we have data to compare. Even better, there’s still room for that number to increase as students in the cohort have this semester and the summer in which to fulfill their graduation requirements.

I am pleased to say that we have now officially surpassed our Winthrop Plan target for 2025, thanks to efforts of so many of you across campus. I know you share my pride as we work together to increase student success and decrease students’ time to graduation, lowering their debt and getting them into the workforce or on to graduate school more quickly.



Winthrop University Records Highest 6-Year Graduation Rate and Surpasses 2025 Goal

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA—Winthrop University has recorded its highest 6-year graduation rate for the 2013 first-time freshman cohort which will be reported to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System next year. Through December 2018, 61.4 percent of students who entered the university as freshmen in fall 2013 have graduated within six years. There is still room for that number to increase as more students in the cohort could graduate this spring or summer, so the final rate will likely be higher.

“This year’s rate is the highest ever, or at least the highest as far back as we have data to compare,” said President Dan Mahony. “Improving our already strong graduation rate is a priority for Winthrop, and this success signals that we will surpass our own 2025 graduation rate target of 61 percent that is among the metrics in our Winthrop Plan.”

This year’s graduation rate will eclipse the former record-setting cohort from fall 2003, which stood at 59.7 percent.

Winthrop already outperforms many of its in-state peers in graduation rates, according to the statistical abstract of the S.C. Commission on Higher Education. In the most recent abstract (2017), Winthrop exceeds the average for public comprehensive teaching institutions for the 2010 cohort for 4-year, 5-year and 6-year graduation rates. In addition, Winthrop’s three-year average for 6-year graduation rates beats the average for similar schools.

The time to graduation also is decreasing for Winthrop students. Since 2013, the percentage of students graduating in four years or less has gone from 35.9 percent to 46.5 percent, an increase of more than 10 percentage points.

“Decreasing the time to graduation is important to our students and their families and helps to lower student debt and gets them into the workforce or on to graduate school more quickly,” Mahony said.

“These achievements would not be possible without the work of the Winthrop community in creating a supportive, inclusive environment for every student to succeed,” Mahony said.  “We have found that, in order to graduate students at a higher rate than some of our peers, our efforts must focus on how to best retain all of our students and help them persevere when they face academic and other obstacles.”

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at longshawj@winthrop.edu or at 803/323-2404.