Statement: “San Diego leads the country in the increase of our graduation rates,” Stephen Weber, the outgoing president of San Diego State University, said during a recent interview on Channel 6.

Determination: True

Analysis: Presiding over his final graduation ceremonies at San Diego State last week, Weber has been the toast of the town. He’s led the university for 15 years and reminisced on his tenure in numerous interviews with local news media recently.

The coverage of Weber’s departure focused on his push for more collaboration with the community, the growth of fundraising, greater student diversity and the excitement of this year’s athletic victories. And when asked about the school’s proudest achievements, Weber highlighted improved graduation rates.

Between 2002 and 2008, the ratio of students graduating at San Diego State increased by a greater margin than any other public research university in the country, according to a study last year by the Chronicle of Higher Education. More than one out of every three students graduated from the school in 2002 while nearly two out of every three students graduated from it in 2008.

In December, after the Chronicle published its study, Weber and other university officials attributed the improvement to steeper expectations of staff and students and higher admissions criteria.

But while the gains are certainly admirable and Weber accurately cited the study, it’s also worth noting how San Diego ranked before and after the shift. Although San Diego State made the biggest improvement, it still fell behind dozens of schools.

With 38 percent of students graduating in 2002, the university ranked 132nd out of 164 universities surveyed by the publication. With 61 percent of students graduating six years later, the university ranked 61st among schools.

But overall, Weber’s statement reflected the study so we’ve call this one True.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

Please contact Keegan Kyle directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/keegankyle.

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