Student Achievement

Student Achievement

Student Achievement at the University of Dallas

The University of Dallas measures and evaluates student achievement data to support student success.  As part of institutional accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), we have an obligation to set thresholds and goals and monitor progress toward those goals.


A committee comprised of cross-campus representation selected metrics that  we note as important measures for evaluating student success. Three metrics were selected for Student Achievement: retention and graduation rates for first-time freshmen and time to degree for master's level students. SACSCOC requires all institutions to track graduation rates annually as part of our accreditation. 

Retention and graduation rate dashboards reflect criteria supported by federal compliance reporting standards under the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) which falls under the purview of the Department of Education. IPEDS collects a variety of data related to student, human resources, and finance. IPEDS provides a publicly available data source via the IPEDS Data Center, the College Navigator, and the College Affordability and Transparency Act

The committee setting the metrics, felt retention and graduation rates should be a focus for continuous improvement of student success. A focus on these metrics allow us to dig deeper into subgroups. We expect to modify these two metrics to include careful tracking of subpopulations.




Our dashboard follows the methodology used by IPEDS where retention represents the number of full-time, first-time students in a fall cohort who returned the following fall.

Targets were set for first-time freshmen.:

  • Threshold for Success = 88%
  • Minimum Threshold of Acceptability = 77%
  • Since 2008, UD has met or exceeded this threshold of acceptability 100% of the time but has not met or exceeded the threshold of success.




Graduation rates represent the number of first-time, full-time degree-seeking students in a fall cohort who graduate in either 4, 5, or 6 years from the university.  The selected methodology follows the federal compliance reporting standards under the IPEDS.

Targets were set for first-time freshmen:

  • Threshold for Success =  75%
  • Minimum Threshold of Acceptability= 65%
  • Since 2008, UD has met this threshold of acceptability 100% of the time but has not met or exceeded the threshold of success.

Additionally, we set a target for first-time freshmen Pell recipients. A minimum threshold of acceptability was set at 52% for six-year graduation rates and has been met 100% of the time since 2008. The threshold of success set at 62% has not been met currently by students in the Pell cohort.




The Average Time to Degree for Master’s Level Students dashboard does NOT reflect compliance reporting as institutions do not complete compliance reporting on this metric. Working with our Student Achievement committee, we identified this measure as an area of improvement for our Master's degree seeking students. This measure is created using a “lookback” technique that takes students graduating in a given time period and tracks them back to entry (admit date). Then a time to degree is computed for each student. Data is presented in aggregate form based upon program.  

Targets were set for Master's degree seeking students:

  • Threshold for Success = will be variable by program 
  • Minimum Threshold of Acceptability = less than 3.5 years for each program

UD has met or exceeded this threshold for all but one program. Due to the varying nature of graduate students, it is difficult to quantify a threshold of success.  Many of our Master’s level students are enrolled part-time; as such, a lower average time to completion is unattainable for some  programs. 



The Office of Professional and Career Development (OPCD) collect information on the first destination of our students after graduation. OPCD tracks each class by calculating the percentage of undergraduates in a class who are either employed, enrolled in graduate programs, or seeking employment or underemployed. 

Targets were set for each class:

  • Threshold for Success is set at less than 3%
  • Minimum Threshold for Acceptability is set at less than 6% for those seeking employment or underemployed
  • This threshold has been met 100% since the university began collecting this data with the 2014 class. 

As of December 2020, 93.2%% of the undergraduate class of 2020 reported a post-graduation outcome related to professional experiences, including employment, religious vocation and service, and graduate or professional school. To further explore post graduation outcomes data, follow the link below to the OPCD webpage.

Undergraduate outcomes