Dear Campus Community:

I hope all are enjoying a well-deserved holiday and semester break. As we move into 2015, I thought I would share some remarkably encouraging news. At the heart of our mission is providing access and opportunity, recognizing the importance of a college degree and a comprehensive educational experience in the world today. The most recent "access to success data report" for the University of Memphis reveals significant progress.

The Pell vs. non-Pell gaps in first to second year retention rates for low-income freshman, low-income transfers, underrepresented minority (URM) freshman and underrepresented minority transfers all improved significantly and in some cases the gaps were closed. From 2006 to date, the retention rates for low-income freshman receiving Pell support have increased from 69% to 73% and for low-income transfers the rates for Pell recipients have increased from 67% to 73%. For URM Pell recipients during the same time period, rates have increased from 70% to 74% and for URM transfer Pell recipients they have improved from 65% to 73%. Again, the comparisons with non-Pell recipients demonstrate the gap has been closed for low-income transfers and URM transfers, and the gap narrowed for freshman in both groups.

Data on the six-year graduation rates show noticeable improvement across both Pell and non-Pell groups, but naturally take longer to demonstrate the kind of progress we have targeted. Both Pell and non-Pell low-income freshman graduation rates have improved, from 35% to 50% and 25% to 33%, respectively. Low income transfers for non-Pell recipients have improved from 36% to 52% and Pell recipients have moved from 39% to 43%. URM freshman with Pell support have improved from 26% to 35%, and those without Pell support going from 36% to 49%. Finally, URM transfers students with Pell support have gone from 32% to 40% and non-Pell URM transfer students have improved dramatically from 39% to 55%.

It takes an entire campus community to have this kind of remarkable impact, particularly over such a brief period of time. Join me in thanking all of those in academic affairs for this great progress, but it is only with the support of all of our faculty and staff across the entire campus that this kind of progress is possible. Thank you and congratulations for helping change the lives of our students and for having such a positive impact on our community, state and nation.

Go Tigers!

M. David Rudd | President