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Being 'More Nudgy': How UW Is Helping Its Students Graduate In Four Years

Sy Bean for the Hechinger Report
Michael Troksa, a mechanical engineering major at the University of Washington, said it's important to him to graduate on time. "Four years means less money paying for college and get out in the field faster, which is what I want to do."

Many high school seniors and their parents are doing the math right now calculating how much four years of college is going to cost. What most don’t imagine is that they may have to pay for five or six years. Nationally, only two out of five college students finish on time. 

But spending more time on campus is expensive. And it’s inefficient for the universities if they can’t free up classroom space and housing for new students.

That’s led to institutions like the University of Washington putting more effort into helping students graduate on time. And it's paying off - UW's four-year graduation rate has climbed to 66 percent compared with a national average of 41 percent for four-year public universities.

This story is part of a partnership with the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Click here to read the companion web story from the Hechinger Report.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.