UW–Madison named as finalist for Degree Completion Award

A photo of Bascom Hall at UW Madison
Bascom Hall

MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin–Madison is one of four finalists for the Degree Completion Award which honors “institutions making critical strides in increasing their graduate numbers, improving their graduation rates and shortening the time to a degree.”

According to a release the award is presented by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The annual award recognizes institutions that improve degree completion, but continue providing quality education.

The winner will be announced at the APLU Annual Meeting which will be held virtually from Nov. 9 to 11.

“This is a tremendous honor, one shared by the entire campus community, including our highly motivated and hard-working students,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank said. “The honor reflects years of concerted effort to not just boost our completion rates but to do so while increasing access to the state’s flagship university and ensuring that a college degree remains affordable, especially for our Wisconsin families.”

Average undergraduate time to degree decreased to less than four calendar years for the first time in 2019 and has continued to shorten in 2020, the release said. The four-year graduation rate increased from 54% to 71.2%.

“Our success derives from strong leadership and prioritization by Chancellor Blank and a multi-year focus on changes in the academic environment at scale across the university,” said Vice Provost of Academic Affairs Jocelyn Milner, author of the award application and current chair of the degree completion work group. “The five strategies highlighted in our application are approaches that are integrated into our academic enterprise and will be sustained as routine and ongoing practice.”

Those strategies include increasing financial aid, improving instruction and addressing policy barriers to student success.