UL System Schools Continue to Perform and Add Value to Louisiana

BATON ROUGE – The eight universities in the University of Louisiana System will continue to raise student retention and graduation rates and be the largest system producer of program completers in Louisiana as mapped out in the Louisiana GRAD Act agreements approved today by the Board of Regents.  The first wave of measurements are on student success, a historical focus of the UL System, and is part of ultimately 52 measurements of higher education performance that will be rolled out at a later date.

“Our universities have come a long way from serving the state as open admissions two-year degree and four-year degree granting institutions just 10 years ago.  With the implementation of admissions standards that have recently been raised, articulation efforts with the growing community colleges and student access and success efforts that have been lauded nationally, our universities will continue to add value to Louisiana,” said UL System President Randy Moffett.


The UL System’s commitment to improving student access and success began with a 2004 pact among the eight university presidents to significantly increase graduation rates by 2012.  That was followed by a commitment to generate additional graduates in targeted areas such as education, business, engineering and healthcare.  With unprecedented funding for higher education in fiscal years 2007-08 and 2008-09, the eight universities targeted new resources towards those goals.

Specifically, UL System schools redesigned barrier courses such as mathematics, provided incentives for students and faculty for better performance, increased online delivery, provided hands-on and peer assistance to students and provided more personalized attention.  To learn more about specific university programming such as Living/Learning Communities go to:  http://www.ulsystem.net/assets/docs/searchable/news/ULS%20Access%20to%20Success%2012-09.pdf.

In line with its focus on student success, the UL System was the first system in the country to participate in the national Access to Success initiative aimed and closing the achievement gap, the Voluntary System of Accountability that promotes transparency and Project Win-Win which awards degrees to students who stopped out but earned enough credit for an associate’s degree.


The largest system in the state with over 82,500 students, the UL System is the largest system producer of the state’s degrees with 11,944 (42%) of the state’s 28,431 baseline of completers.  Below are major student success measurements outlined in the GRAD Act agreement for the eight universities.  The “Baseline” shows a range of where universities were in 2008, and “Year Six” projects where they will be in 2014.


Baseline (2008)

Year Six (2014)

1st to 2nd Year Retention

56% – 76%

62% – 78%

Same Institution Graduation Rate

27% – 47%

36% – 50%

Program Completers



In addition to first to second year retention, same institution graduation rates and program completers, the agreement calls for the measurement of first to third year retention and optional measures such as statewide graduation rates, graduation productivity and award productivity.

“The bottom line is there is no single way to measure the effectiveness of institutions in moving students to degree completion.  For example, to simply look at same institution graduation rates does not take into account part-time students, students who transferred into the university or transferred to another institution and graduated.  Furthermore, the operations of a university are so multi-faceted that it will truly take all 52 measurements to give a complete picture of performance.  That is the strength of the GRAD Act legislation, and we embrace the accountability and transparency,” said Moffett.

For individual institution GRAD Act agreements, visit the Louisiana Board of Regents website (www.regents.state.la.us) and click on the GRAD Act logo.


EIGHT UNIVERSITIES STRONG: The University of Louisiana System is the largest higher education system in the state enrolling over 82,500 students at Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.