Oklahoma’s college graduation rates of full-time students continue to improve. Six-year graduation rates of entering freshmen at the research universities increased from 54.7 percent in 2000 to 60.2 percent in 2003. Regional universities increased from 35.7 percent to 38.3 percent, and three-year graduation rates at the community colleges increased from 28.5 percent to 32.8 percent during the same period. Graduation rates vary by type of institution due to selectivity and mission; therefore, community colleges have the lowest graduation rates primarily due to open admissions policies.
The number of degrees awarded at state colleges and universities has increased since the inception of the Brain Gain initiative in 1999. The initiative includes performance funding where the State Regents allocate a portion of state appropriations according to the institution’s performance in student retention and number of degrees produced.
In 2004, the State Regents developed Brain Gain improvement grants to assist state colleges and universities with initiatives that would further increase student retention and degrees earned at their institutions.