Student Achievement

Through the provision of a rigorous undergraduate and graduate liberal arts education enhanced through opportunities to engage in research and other co-curricular opportunities, Midwestern State University seeks to prepare students as they embark upon their careers and contribute to society through their work. MSU Texas has identified the following three student achievement measures to evaluate the institution's fulfillment of its mission and inform continuous improvement efforts: 
These measures are in alignment with the status of MSU Texas as a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) and the goals outlined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) as part of the 60x30TX Higher Education Strategic Plan.
Graduation Rates

Midwestern State University monitors the eight-year graduation rates of full-time/first-time students, full-time transfer students, and Pell Grant recipients. MSU Texas also tracks the six-year graduation rates of its graduate students. While the institution has recently expanded to include its first doctoral program, it will be a few years before data regarding graduates from the doctoral program can be collected, thus only Master’s-level data is included below.

Relevance of the Measure

The attainment of a degree represents the culmination of the higher education experience. Additionally, as a Texas public institution, graduation rates are an important indicator of the THECB 60x30 plan to increase the percent of the Texas population holding a higher education credential.

Threshold of Acceptability and Achievement Goals

As both a Texas public institution and member of COPLAC, MSU Texas refers to IPEDS-generated comparison data from these peer groups, as well as its own trends, to determine minimum thresholds of acceptability and achievement goals for its graduation rates.


This section includes the eight-year graduation rates of undergraduate students and six-year graduation rates of graduate students.

Undergraduate Students
Figure 1. Eight-Year Graduation Rates of Undergraduate Pell Recipients.
Cohort All Undergraduates Pell Recipients
Fall 2007 48% N/A
Fall 2008 52% 49%
Fall 2009 50% 46%
Fall 2010 52% 44%
Fall 2011 50% 45%
Four-Year Average 51% 46%
Minimum Threshold 51%
Achievement Goal 57%
Figure 2. Eight-Year Graduation Rates of Undergraduate Pell Recipients (Full-Time, First-Time). 
Cohort All Undergraduates Pell Recipients
Fall 2007 48% N/A
Fall 2008 47% 40%
Fall 2009 44% 39%
Fall 2010 48% 42%
Fall 2011 43% 39%
Four-Year Average 46% 40%
Minimum Threshold 34%
Achievement Goal 55%
Figure 3. Eight-Year Graduation Rates of Undergraduate Pell Recipients (Full-Time Transfer). 
Cohort All Undergraduates Pell Recipients
Fall 2007 48% N/A
Fall 2008 52% 49%
Fall 2009 50% 46%
Fall 2010 52% 44%
Fall 2011 50% 45%
Four-Year Average 51% 46%
Minimum Threshold 51%
Achievement Goal 57%
Graduate Students
Figure 4. Six-Year Graduation Rates of Graduate Students.
Cohort Gradation Rates
Fall 2013 72%
Fall 2014 61%
Fall 2015 75%
Fall 2016 (Five-Year) 72%
Fall 2017 (Four-Year) 70%
Five-Year Average 70%
Minimum Threshold 65%
Achievement Goal 70%
Strategies to Improve

MSU Texas has identified improving fall-to-fall retention rates as a critical first step. See next section for more details.

Retention Rates

MSU Texas uses disaggregates fall-to-fall retention rates by key populations, including full-time first-time and transfer students, Black and Hispanic students, and first-generation students. As a member of the THECB Master’s peer group, retention rates for graduate students are also reported. Due to more variable start dates of graduate programs, the retention rates of graduate students are not based on a given cohort and instead are calculated by dividing the total number of students enrolled in the listed fall semester by the number of students enrolled in the previous fall who have not yet graduated.

Relevance of the Measure

Retention rates have been a consistent indicator of student success at both the state and federal level and are an indicator of how well students are adjusting to the demands of college life. Retention rates also drive graduation rates and provide more immediately actionable data.

Threshold of Acceptability and Achievement Goals

As both a Texas public institution and member of COPLAC, MSU Texas refers to IPEDS-generated comparison data from these peer groups, as well as its own trends, to determine minimum thresholds of acceptability and achievement goals for its retention rates.


The section includes the disaggregated retention rates for full-time first-time students (Figure 5), full-time transfer students (Figure 6), and graduate students (Figure 7).

Figure 5. Retention Rates of Full-Time First-Time Students.
Cohort Overall Black Hispanic First-Gen
Fall 2017 65% 55% 64% 69%
Fall 2018 67% 62% 69% N/A
Fall 2019 66% 62% 64% 65%
Fall 2020 63% 55% 70% 60%
Four-Year Average 65% 58% 67% 65%
Minimum Threshold (Texas) 64%
Achievement Goal (COPLAC) 75%
Figure 6. Retention Rates of Full-Time Transfer Students.
Cohort Overall Black Hispanic First-Gen
Fall 2017 74% 67% 74% 72%
Fall 2018 75% 60% 69% N/A
Fall 2019 74% 72% 74% 72%
Fall 2020 70% 64% 70% 70%
Four-Year Average 73% 66% 72% 71%
Minimum Threshold (Texas) 73%
Achievement Goal (COPLAC) 75%
Graduate Students
Figure 7. Retention Rates of Graduate Students.
Cohort Overall Black Hispanic First-Gen
Fall 2017 71% 60% 69% 85%
Fall 2018 72% 59% 66% N/A
Fall 2019 68% 56% 75% 91%
Fall 2020 70% 67% 75% 72%
Four-Year Average 70% 60% 72% 83%
Minimum Threshold (Texas) 72%
Achievement Goal (COPLAC) 74%
Strategies to Improve

This section describes initiatives devised by MSU Texas to improve retention rates.

Enrollment and Retention Task Force

In September of 2021, the Interim President charged the Provost and Vice President for Enrollment Management to bring the campus together to discuss enrollment and retention. The following priorities were defined for the task force:

  1. Within the fall 2021 semester, identify immediate actionable items that would improve retention for the current academic year and increase recruiting efforts leading into fall 2022.
  2. For AY 2022, identify actionable items to positively impact both enrollment and retention. These must be identified during AY 2021 to have sufficient time for impact.
  3. Create the framework for an ongoing plan and standing committee that will provide continuous review and improvement of enrollment and retention. 

The task force consisted of over 60 faculty, staff and students. As a result of the task force, 4 committees were developed that include Undergraduate Recruiting, Graduate Recruiting, Retention and Innovation and Strategic Initiatives. 

First-Year Experience Seminar

Midwestern State University takes seriously its responsibility to help its first-year students acclimate to college. One key component of our First-year Experience programming is the fall semester First-year Seminar Learning Communities. 

During the fall semester, we link core courses to a section of MWSU 1230: First-year Seminar, and all new students are required to enroll in one (there are some exceptions, but the academic counselor will guide new students through this process).  

These Learning Communities of 15-20 students meet one hour each week and are led by peer mentors trained to deliver a first-year seminar curriculum. The seminar gives students opportunities to learn about campus resources and study skills, and apply these skills to shared academic tasks.

Developmental Courses

Texas colleges and universities are guided by the Texas Success Initiative (TSI), which is a Texas statute that outlines developmental education. The purpose of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) program is to guide Texas public institutions of higher education in determining whether entering, non-exempt students are ready for entry-level college coursework in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics through the administration of the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA). Students who do not meet one or more of the established benchmarks of the TSIA are required to participate in developmental education support prior to, or together with, enrollment in college-level coursework. Developmental supports such as corequisite and non-course competency-based options help students succeed in meeting their academic and career goals. 

Dual Credit

MSU Texas expanded its dual credit options to provide students the necessary courses that will launch their college career towards a two year or four year degree and to push students towards the goals set out by the 60x30TX plan. These dual credit opportunities focus on the liberal arts core curriculum and provide students with the challenges of taking college level courses. From 12 dual credit students in 2018, it is anticipated that MSU Texas will enroll approximately 400 dual credit students in the fall of 2022. Students pursuing dual credit are taking core classes, which concentrate on the liberal arts.

DEI Plan

In July 2020, Midwestern State University, in collaboration with the university’s Black student leaders, outlined three broad goals to address and support actions for a more racially inclusive learning environment. The Task Force on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is comprised of and serves MSU Texas students, faculty, staff, and regents. The task force is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the action plan, including forming working groups, assigning tasks to specific organizational leaders or aligning tasks with currently active committees. The task force provided a landing page on the MSU Texas web site that outlined our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan.  

Café Con Leche

To better serve Hispanic and first generation families in Region IX, as well as the DFW area, MSU Texas partners with Café Con Leche and its educational consultant, Mr. Gonzalo Robles. Café Con Leche allows families to learn more about higher education and career opportunities for their children. Educational sessions take place in familiar places, such as schools, universities, community centers, neighborhoods and churches around the state. Led by Mr. Robles, MSU Texas attends these events to provide insight into the college admissions and financial aid processes. Forums are conducted in English and Spanish to better serve stakeholders.

Licensure Exams

MSU Texas monitors the career-readiness of its students through tracking licensing exam pass rates for students entering licensed professional fields. The reported rates are based on the initial attempts of students to pass the licensing exams.

Relevance of the Measure

Passing the licensure exam is an important culmination of a student's education and signifies their readiness to enter licensed professional fields. Pass rates for nursing and education have been of historical importance to the institution, to the program accrediting bodies, and to the State of Texas. 

Threshold of Acceptability and Achievement Goals

The state has set a minimum acceptable pass rate of 80% for nursing and 90% is the minimum acceptable pass rate for education. The goal of MSU Texas is for 100% of program graduates in both education and nursing to pass their licensing exams.


Education students consistently surpass the 90% minimum threshold with certain years yielding 100% pass rates. Although NCLEX pass rates for nursing students occasionally dip below the minimum threshold of 80%, the five-year average at 84% exceeds this threshold.

Figure 8. Licensure Pass Rates for Nursing and Education.
Year Nursing Education
2016-2017 88% 95%
2017-2018 73% 90%
2018-2019 88% 94%
2019-2020 89% 96%
2020-2021 87% 93%
Five-Year Average 84% 94%
Minimum Threshold  80% 90%
Strategies to Improve

Because the licensure pass rates for Nursing and Education meet their minimum thresholds, there are no current strategies in place to improve these outcomes.