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Raising retention and graduation rates at UTSA is often described as our number one academic priority. It is the measure that identifies how many students are receiving an education and following through with their degree plan on-time. The steps leading up to the undergraduate level contributes immensely to student success in college. Area college readiness initiatives serve UTSA’s goal to boost our graduation and retention rates.

The Paisano has asked, “what contributes to retention and graduation rates in our reporting?” President Eighmy has addressed retention rates through his task forces, including Coordinated and Linked Approaches to Student Success (CLASS), UTSA professors partner with area high school teachers and the Paisano worked with KIPP, the Knowledge is Power Program, to assist their students with their own publication. Our coverage and experience have led us to conclude that preparing area high school students for post-secondary education can improve UTSA’s retention and graduation rates.

Our freshmen confirm how much more successful UTSA could be if they were better prepared. Professors, peer mentors and UTSA community members have recounted stories about freshmen that are startling. From issues with multiplication problems to disastrous studying strategies, repetitively we hear that UTSA freshmen have room for improvement.

Better prepared freshmen are more consistent and stable, but these results aren’t the only reason why college readiness may boost retention and graduation rates. In an interview with the Paisano, chemistry professor Dr. Aguilar pointed out that better prepared students can test out of particular courses, which in turn shortens their time at UTSA. More students graduating ahead of schedule means higher retention and graduation rates for UTSA.

College readiness is a leading topic in discussions concerning Texas education, and it’s no secret, funding is an issue. What’s promising is that the work UTSA community members are doing now can grow and qualify for funding once they have more data and results to report. Supporting college readiness programs in San Antonio won’t only help high school students, it will help the future of our university.

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