New York Times Opinion Piece Highlights Ferris Exceeding Grad Rate Expectations

Ferris State University
PHOTO CAPTIONS: Shown in the images, above and below, are scenes from Ferris State University's Big Rapids campus. Recently, Ferris was featured in a New York Times opinion piece for exceeding expected graduation rates. 


Ferris State University’s collaborative efforts to recruit, retain and graduate successful students was recently recognized in an opinion piece published in the May 23 edition of The New York Times.

The opinion, authored by David Leonhardt and titled “The College Dropout Crisis,” noted Ferris among its “top-performing school(s),” performing five percentage points above its expected 60-percent expected graduation rate. The analysis was conducted by The New York Times and the Urban Institute’s Center on Education Data and Privacy. The author’s motivation was to examine the “college-dropout crisis” as a significant contributor to American inequality.

The article examined 368 colleges by their expected graduation rates, based on the average for colleges with similar student bodies, in comparison to their actual graduation rates.

In calculating expected institution graduation rates, the article examined the characteristics Ferris State Universityof the college’s students. These factors included age, gender, income, race and test scores. The opinion noted that a critical factor in graduating students is on-campus living. The report further states that “at colleges where more students live on campus, graduation rates tend to be higher.” The author attributes that data to a support system that includes greater accessibility to on-campus resources, including faculty, staff and friends.

Ferris was listed in the largest-school category of 2,000-plus new students, annually. The list of colleges and universities ranked among “top-performing schools is diverse, including small private college, historically black colleges and universities, and large public universities.

In addition to Leonhardt, contributors to the analysis included Sahil Chinoy, a graphics editor for the New York Times Opinion section. Erica Blom, Kristin Blagg and Matthew Chingos, of the Urban Institute, contributed to the analysis.

In December 2018, nearly 1,000 Ferris students graduated. More than 2,000 students graduated during May 2019 commencement.