Cleveland State Graduation Rate Surges Despite Covid-19

Friday, August 14, 2020
While many colleges and universities are facing enrollment challanges for the new school year, Cleveland State took time-out recently to celebrate a milestone.  For the previous two years, our local college has been leading the state in percentage enrollment increases.  Much of this success has been due to increasing student retention. This has caused an upsurge in graduation rates.

In just one year’s time, the Tennessee Board of Regents institution has seen a 27% increase in the number of degrees and certificates awarded to its students.
At the end of the 2018-19 academic year, Cleveland State helped 900 students complete their programs of study. Now, as the 2019-20 academic year concluded, the college graduated 1,147 students from its rolls. This is the second highest number of graduates from Cleveland State in the school’s history. (2012-13)

“In the face of a global pandemic, the college came through where it counts the most,” said Dr. Bill Seymour, Cleveland State Community College President. “We are graduating students at a higher rate than almost any other time in our history. This is a testament to the work of our faculty and staff and what we can accomplish even in tough times.”

Cleveland State graduates come in many different forms including those enrolled in traditional on-campus programs, hybrid and online programs, Associate Degrees, short and long-term certificates, the Honors College at Cleveland State, as well as the Tennessee Valley Early College (TVEC). An initiative in partnership with local high schools, the first group of TVEC graduates earned a high school diploma, as well as a college degree, this year. 

“Finding ways to reach students wherever they are is essential,” added Seymour. “Letting our neighbors in Southeast Tennessee know we are ready for them, when they are ready, is such an important message right now. We are all looking forward to our fall semester.” The fall term for online and on-campus courses begins August 24.

The 2019-20 academic year is the fourth year Cleveland State has graduated more than 1,000 students in its 54-year history. The high occurred on the tail end of the “Great Recession” in 2012-13 when the college graduated 1,183 students. This past summer’s graduation was the first ceremony in the history of the college not held on-campus. COVID-19 forced the college to move the 2020 Spring and Summer Commencement Ceremony online. 

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