Graduation rates for undergraduate students are another important measure of student achievement and persistence. Per federal and state guidelines, Bellarmine primarily tracks the four- and six-year graduation rate of first-time, full-time students who enter in a fall semester—although internal monitoring of non-cohort students (first-time students who enter in the spring term, transfer students and other unique student populations) is also a valuable metric.
Based on the most recent two years of available data, Bellarmine's four- and six-year graduation rates are significantly ahead of the national average, its peers in the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU) and public four-year institutions in Kentucky.
Perhaps most notably, Bellarmine University students complete their undergraduate degree within four years at a higher rate than students at all benchmark institutions who require six years to finish.
Four- and Six-Year Graduation Trends
The University relies upon graduation rates as one of the key indicators of achievement among the undergraduate student population. Since higher retention rates generally lead to higher graduation rates, Bellarmine places a heavy emphasis on its student success initiatives beginning during the first year and continuing through sophomore, junior and senior year. Programs like the Bellarmine Guarantee ensure that high-performing students remain on track to graduate within four years. Bellarmine has also developed additional programming to advise students who fall behind in order to help them achieve their degree in their fifth or sixth year.
The document below illustrates the four- and six-year graduation rates of the most recent cohort years for which data are available. During the 2000s, Bellarmine's four-year graduation rate was near 51%; it has increased steadily, and the past two cohort years (2012 and 2013) represent the two highest cohort four-year graduation rates in Bellarmine's history. Likewise, the six-year graduation rate was generally near 65% during the 2000s, but has since increased to an average of 66% over the past five cohort years.
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Official Graduation Rates, Cohorts 2009-2019