MVC continues to struggle with low graduation rates

By Thania Figueroa/Staff Writer 

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, Missouri Valley College’s graduation rate is 30%. This is 27% lower than the midpoint of 57%.

Compared to other colleges in NAIA —or who compete in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, MVC is the lowest. The graduation rate at other NAIA colleges are as follows: Baker University 60%, Benedictine College 63%, Central Methodist University 51% and Mount Mercy University 68%. 

Why is the graduation rate so low?

To be admitted into MVC, an applicant must have an ACT score of 18 or higher and 2.0 GPA or higher. Compared to other NAIA schools, this number is lower. Baker University requires a GPA of 2.75, for those with a GPA of 2.5-2.74, they must have an ACT score of 18 or higher. CMU requires an ACT score of 18 and a 2.5 GPA. Graceland University requires an ACT score of 21 and a 2.5 GPA. Mount Mercy University requires a 3.0 GPA. 

The admission requirements for MVC could be a reason the graduation rate is lower than these other colleges because they require a higher GPA or ACT score to get admitted. 

“We give students an opportunity to go to college who might not otherwise have that opportunity. But it sort of makes sense to me that that means our graduation rates might suffer a little bit because of that,” Elizabeth Bellamy, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said. 

MVC has many great resources students can use. The Murrell Library is one place where students can sit, do homework and study in a quiet environment. They have a Counseling Center which provides students professional help to achieve success. 

“We have a lot of great resources in place for students who may need that extra help whether it be our free tutoring or we have the English and math labs to help students who might need a little extra help in English 130 or Topics of Modern Math or College Algebra. So I’m really proud that we have those resources in place,” Bellamy said. 

The Learning Center is another great resource for students to use, which allows them to study in a quiet environment, aside from Murrell Library. It provides walk-in tutors, tutors by appointment, test proctoring and online tutoring. Tutors can help students with many entry level courses and provide information about certain professors and course structure. 

“The ones that use it find it really valuable, but I really wish students would use it more,” Rhonda Ryther, Director of Learning Center, said. 

Since Covid, she has seen a decrease in the number of students that use the Learning Center. 

“We used to have a large number of students coming through in a day,” she said. 

During Covid, many faculty and staff members put their homework assignments and tests online, steering them away from the Learning Center. 

In the past, the student success center would assign students who have failed a class, or are not doing well in a course, hours at the learning center. Now, it seems that this system has weakened. 

MVC has an academic alert system; when a student is struggling or failing a course, it is reported to their academic advisors. From there, the students sign a student success contract, coming up with a success plan, turning big goals into smaller, achievable goals. But it is solely up to the student to take action and achieve these goals. 

“I want the students to know that they have so many resources of people here to help, but they are also responsible for their actions and their choices,” Bellamy said.

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