Study: UNLV graduation rate low

LAS VEGAS - Students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas are less likely to graduate within six years than those at similar institutions, according to a new study.

The university's low graduation rate means that only about one out of 10 will graduate within four years and less than four of 10 will graduate in six years.

That's below the national graduation rate and that of similar urban, public institutions the same size and status as UNLV, according to 2003 data compiled by The Educational Trust, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.

The organization released a new Web-based comparison that lets people compare the graduation rates of four-year institution across the United States.

The data tracks only students who entered and graduated from each university based on what they reported to the U.S. Department of Education.

Only 12.3 percent of UNLV students graduate within four years, 29 percent within five years, and 37.8 graduate within six years, according to the study.

The University of Nevada, Reno had a slightly higher graduation rate than UNLV - with 14.7 percent of students graduating in four years and 48.3 percent graduating in six year. UNR improved its graduation rate by almost 10 percent between 1997 and 2003.

Both Nevada universities were below the national average of 37 percent of students graduating within a four-year period and 63 percent within a six-year period.

UNLV President Carol Harter called the statistics depressing.

She said the university has to compete for students with Las Vegas' thriving service industry.

Because students can get good-paying jobs at casinos without a degree, many opt out of college before earning a diploma, Harter said. Others work full-time while they are taking classes, pushing back their graduation date.


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