Increased quality powers Gonzaga to best graduation rate ever

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Factors impacting enrollment success also key to graduation rate

SPOKANE, Wash. - As an indicator of academic quality, Gonzaga University reports that it has increased its six-year graduation rate from 63 percent to 80 percent, making it one of the highest-performing institutions in the nation from the perspective of student retention.

Already one of the most selective institutions among Master;s I schools in the West, Gonzaga has achieved its unprecedented graduation rate in the same way it has achieved unprecedented enrollment growth - through a combination of key factors, including an excellent university experience from top-flight faculty and staff, a substantial need- and merit-based financial aid program for students, and an operating strategy that balances quality and affordability.

''Students and parents are increasingly concerned about how to obtain a high-quality college education in an environment of incredible cost-escalation. A huge investment in our financial aid program has paid immense dividends,'' Gonzaga President Rev. Robert J. Spitzer said. ''Not only has this generated incredible opportunity for Gonzaga in terms of enrollment, it has allowed us to invest in our faculty and academic facilities.''

Gonzaga has hired more than 50 new full-time faculty in the past five years to ensure its student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1, with an average class size of 24. The $7.5 million PACCAR Center for Applied Science, currently nearing completion, will be the latest of more than 15 major new or renovated facilities completed in the past decade.

Gonzaga's board of trustees recently approved an operating budget that increases the institution's financial aid commitment by $4.5 million to more than $43 million for undergraduate students alone. It also makes a substantial investment - $1.7 million - in development initiatives related to building a substantial perpetual endowment.

''Private colleges and universities cannot ethically ask students and their families to absorb the full impact of expenditure increases,'' Spitzer said. ''It is the No. 1 priority of our board to build the endowment and increase the opportunity for students to attend Gonzaga.''

The endowment also will support the ''Vision 2012'' Strategic Plan initiative approved by the trustees at their July 2007 meeting.

For more information, contact Dale Goodwin at (509) 323-6133 or goodwin@gonzaga.edu.