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University of Alaska Graduating Class Increases for Fifth Consecutive Year


The numbers of degrees, certifications and endorsements that will be
awarded to University of Alaska (UA) students this spring are
projected to show an increase of more than 28 percent over the 3,427
degrees awarded in the 2009 academic year.

Keeping in line with steady increases for the past five years,
approximately 4,400 degrees, certificates and endorsements are
expected to be conferred by the UA Board of Regents during 17
commencement celebrations across the state this May. The upward trend
in degrees awarded in recent years has been driven by large increases
in the number of baccalaureates, occupational endorsements and
licensures. Degrees awarded in high demand job areas like health care,
education, fisheries, seafood, maritime, mining and engineering are
also projected to improve, with a target of 2,964 degrees awarded by
the end of the current academic year— an increase of more than 21
percent from 2009.

Nationally, attention on higher education has focused on student
retention rates, debt levels and graduation rates. There is demand to
better define the path for collegiate success so that students are
positioned to attain their educational goals in a timely and
cost-effective manner.  Because of this shift, there is a growing
demand from both parents and students for universities to be more
transparent regarding the overall cost of attaining a college degree.

The University of Alaska launched Stay on Track—an outreach campaign
to educate students on the benefits of graduating in fewer years for
less money, with less debt — to address these concerns. The campaign
features steps that can be taken to reduce costs and map out a timely
path to graduation. Advising is the most critical step, but it does
require a student to pick a program or major early and stick with it
for optimal results. Students are reminded that in order to attain 120
credits in four years (the average number required for a degree
program) at least 30 credits must be earned each year.

Each campus has tailored its approach to improving advising services
for students, and each campus is seeing those efforts rewarded with
reduced attrition rates and growing numbers of students completing
their education programs. Programs like UAS's Academic Early Alert
System help reduce the percentage of students leaving the university
before graduation by identifying risk factors such as declining test
scores, absenteeism, dropping classes or falling below passing grade.

The university is partnering with Alaska's high schools since
graduation rates and timeliness are closely tied to some basic
pre-college characteristics. UA is helping develop a database for
tracking individual students throughout their entire school career so
that performance concerns and educational shortfalls can be addressed
before they leave elementary and secondary systems, enabling
university advisors to more accurately place and guide students as
they enter post-secondary study.

All of these programs aim to keep in mind overall affordability for
students, which is a priority for the Board of Regents and is in line
with the decision to limit the tuition increase to two percent for

For additional information on the report and initiatives taking place
at each campus, speak with the content experts and visit the links

Saichi Oba, Statewide Associate Vice President Student Services &
Enrollment Management, stoba@alaska.edu , (907) 450-8146

Bruce Schultz , UAA Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs,
anbrs@uaa.alaska.edu, (907) 786-6108

Mike Sfraga , UAF Vice Chancellor for University and Student
Advancement, sfraga@alaska.edu , (907) 474-2600

Joseph Nelson , UAS Dean of Enrollment Management,
joe.nelson@uas.alaska.edu , (907) 796-6057

Systemwide Programs:

Stay on Track: http://www.alaska.edu/stayontrack/
Get on Track : http://www.alaska.edu/getontrack/
Future Students: http://www.alaska.edu/future/
February FAFSA Frenzy : http://www.alaska.edu/fafsafrenzy/
UA College Savings Plan: http://www.uacollegesavings.com/public/ua529
UA Foundation: http://www.alaska.edu/foundation/donor_relations/scholarships/
UA Scholars Program: http://www.alaska.edu/scholars/
UA Performance Report:

State of Alaska

Alaska Performance Scholarship:
Kids2College Program:

MAU Admissions Sites

University of Alaska Anchorage

Admissions: http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/admissions/
Advising: http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/advising-testing/academic/index.cfm
Financial Aid: http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/financialaid/

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Admissions: http://www.uaf.edu/admissions/
Advising: http://www.uaf.edu/advising/
Financial Aid: http://www.uaf.edu/finaid/

University of Alaska Southeast

Admissions : http://www.uas.alaska.edu/admissions/
Advising: http://www.uas.alaska.edu/advising/
Financial Aid: http://www.uas.alaska.edu/financial_aid/
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