Student Achievement

In accordance with federal law and regional accreditation standards, UNC Asheville sets overall goals for student achievement.  Detailed information on the current goals, and on how the University has performed relative to those goals in the last three years, is provided below.  In most cases, numeric targets were decided upon after comparing UNC Asheville to fellow institutions in the UNC System and to national peers in the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC).

Academic Accomplishments

UNC Asheville students perform at high levels by several measures of academic performance:

Academic Accomplishments2016-172017-182018-192019-202020-21Avg.Target
% Courses Completed Satisfactorily190%89%88%89%87%89%>=85%
% Passing Teacher Licensure Exams93%96%91%90%92%92%>=97%

The University participates in the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) once every three years as a means of assessing how well seniors have achieved mastery in core learning outcomes such as written communication, critical thinking, and scientific and quantitative literacy. UNC Asheville scored in the top 5% of all colleges and universities nationally in the 2015 administration of the CLA.

Learning Outside the Classroom

UNC Asheville students are more likely than their COPLAC and UNC System peers to participate in service learning, undergraduate research, study abroad, internships, and other high-impact learning opportunities that are strongly predictive of academic and career success.Students are encouraged to take part in at least one, and ideally in two or more, of these opportunities before they graduate.

Learning Outside the Classroom (First-time Freshmen)16-1717-1818-1919-2020-21Avg.Target
Undergraduate Research69%72%71%71%60%69%
Service Learning39%49%46%48%44%45%
Study Abroad22%21%17%20%10%18%
At Least One High Impact Learning Experience93%92%88%87%86%90%>=75%
Two Or More High Impact Learning Experiences53%53%50%52%44%50%>=50%

65% of first-time baccalaureate students in the most recent graduating class participated in an undergraduate research or creative project during their years at UNC Asheville. The University has long been a national leader in undergraduate research, hosting not only the inaugural National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in 1987 but also many subsequent NCUR conferences, including one this past spring.

A very high percentage of these students – 88% in the most recent graduating class — participate in at least one high-impact learning practice during their time on campus. More than 50% participate in two or more such learning opportunities before graduation.

Persistence to Graduation

As a member of the UNC system, UNC Asheville admits: (i) students who intend both to begin and to complete their degree program at the University; (ii) students who plan to begin their studies at UNC Asheville but then to transfer to a degree program at another UNC institution; and (iii) students who transfer from another institution with the intention to graduate from UNC Asheville. Accordingly, the University has set retention and graduation targets that cover all three of these populations.

Full-Time Freshmen Entering Fall Term16-1717-1818-1919-2020-21Avg.Target
Average Years to Graduate from UNC Asheville4.<= 4.5
% UNCA Returning for Second Year of Study in UNC System83%81%76%79%83%80%>=85%
% Returning for Second Year of Study at UNC Asheville78%75%73%73%76%75%>=80%
% UNCA Graduating from UNC System in Six Years or Less71%69%72%67%71%70%>=70%
% Graduating from UNC Asheville in Six Years or Less62%62%63%59%62%62%>=65%
Full-Time Junior Transfers Entering Fall Term16-1717-1818-1919-2020-21Avg.Target
Average Years to Graduate from UNC Asheville2.<=2.5
% Returning for Second Year of Study at UNC Asheville83%78%77%84%87%82%>=80%
% Graduating from UNC Asheville in Three Years or Less68%65%69%67%69%68%>=65%

While retention and graduation rates are at or near most of the University’s goals for student achievement and success, efforts are underway to improve the on-campus graduation rates for both freshmen and transfer students.

To see retention, graduation, and persistence rates by racial/ethnic group and/or sex, please visit the following dashboards:

1 A course completed satisfactorily is one which the student completes (as opposed to withdrawing prior to completion) with a grade of C or higher.

2 As demonstrated by the 2015 version of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). NSSE asks seniors about their participation in six high-impact practices: learning communities, service-learning, research with faculty, internships or field experiences, study abroad, and a culminating senior experience.  2015 participation rates in high-impact learning opportunities by UNC Asheville seniors exceeded both the COPLAC and the UNC System average rate of senior participation.