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Five colleges and universities in Missouri — including two in the Ozarks — significantly improved their graduation rates in recent years.

The rates at Ozarks Technical Community College, College of the Ozarks, Fontbonne University, Saint Louis University, and State Technical College went up by more than 10 percentage points between the 2010-11 and 2017-18 school years, according to a December 2019 report by the Coordinating Board of Higher Education.

In 2011, Missouri set a goal of having 60 percent of all working-age adults with college degrees or high-quality certificates by 2025. According to the U.S. Census, an estimated 53.7 percent meet that benchmark, up from 48.9 percent in 2011.

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Overall, from 2011 to 2018, the number of graduates increased by 11.6 percent.

“More students who start college are working hard and completing their degrees,” said Zora Mulligan, Missouri commissioner of higher education, in a news release. “Several institutions are breaking down barriers to degree completion and those efforts are making a significant advance in improving graduation rates.”

In 2018, 350,323 students were enrolled in the state’s higher education institutions — 85,633 in public two-year, 146,046 in public four-year, and 118,644 in the independent colleges and universities.

During the 2018-19 year, they collectively awarded 96,600 certificates and degrees.

The Coordinating Board for Higher Education reported that between 2011 and 2018, total completions were up 0.6 percent for independent universities, 18.6 percent for public institutions, and 26 percent for community and technical colleges.

Mulligan said the state will continue to monitor its progress toward the overall goal and “look for more opportunities to help Missourians get on a path to education.”

While five institutions increased graduation rates by 10 percentage points from 2011 to 2018, the rates at 17 others increased by at least 5 percent, including:

  • Drury University, Springfield
  • Crowder College, Neosho
  • State Fair Community College, Sedalia
  • Avila University, Kansas City
  • Culver-Stockton College, Canton
  • East Central College, Union
  • Lindenwood University, St. Charles
  • Metropolitan Community College, Kansas City
  • Mineral Area College, Park Hills
  • Missouri Baptist University, St. Louis
  • Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph
  • North Central Missouri College, Trenton
  • St. Louis Community College
  • St. Charles Community College
  • Three Rivers College, Poplar Bluff
  • University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • William Woods University, Fulton

The state closely monitors degree and certificate completion rates for students from the historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

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From 2011 to 2018, the completion rate went up overall by 38.1 percent including 19.9 percent at independent universities, 60.4 percent at public universities and 78.2 percent at community and technical colleges.

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