Tennessee Tech’s four-year graduation rate has improved from 24.7 percent to nearly 40 percent over the last six years.
“So only about one out of four freshmen that entered at that time would graduate from Tennessee Tech within four years for academic years,” Tennessee Tech President Phil Oldham said. “And you see the progress that we’ve made over that time period. That’s it’s actually pretty linear improvement. But this has not been accidental. I can assure you. This has been with a lot of forethought and and thoughtfulness.”
Oldham said it’s the first time Tech has hit 40 percent graduation. Oldham said it’s been a goal of the university leadership since he took over.
“How do we get more students to graduate in four years?” Oldham said. “Because we know that benefits them substantially by reducing the cost of an education, which obviously is of great interest nationally, reducing student loan debt, but also gets them into the workforce quicker. And so their their career earning capacity increases substantially.”
The Tech School of Business did a rough study that found a $20 million economic impact from students graduating more quickly. Oldham said that numbers comes from the $25,000 annual savings from tuition, fees and housing as well as a $50,000 first-year salary.
Oldham said the national standard for a bachelors degree is one-and-a-half times the norm or six years. He said most regional schools like Tennessee Tech would focus on that standard.
“We’ve really tried over the last couple of years to change the focus on this campus,” Oldham said.