As part of a national push to produce more college graduates, the University of Central Missouri is launching an initiative designed to help more of its students earn degrees in four years.
The school, starting this fall, will require most incoming freshman to live in residence halls for two years, encourage students to pick majors earlier and offer better academic advising. It also will offer a “15 to Finish” scholarship for seniors who've taken full class loads during their first three years.
The 11,800-student university in Warrensburg, about 50 miles east of Kansas City, said about 500 students out of a typical 1,800-student freshman class don't graduate in five years. University spokesman Robin Krause said the initial goal of the new effort, called the Learning to a Greater Degree Contract, is to make sure an additional 100 of those students graduate.
The university is among nearly 500 public colleges that pledged in October to produce a combined 3.8 million additional graduates by 2025, an ambitious target that would help bring the U.S. closer to its goal of regaining its lost global lead in college attainment. The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities are driving the effort.
The institutions are not committing to enrolling more students. The focus will be on improving completion rates – long considered the weak link of American higher education.