Over the past decade, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has seen a steady increase in the number of freshmen who eventually walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.

The 2014 graduation rate of 47.9 percent is up from the 44.7 percent in 2013 and from 32.1 percent 10 years ago, according to recently released figures from UL-Lafayette.

The graduation rate represents the number of undergraduates who earn degrees within six years.

“Total enrollment is at a record high of almost 18,800 students this semester, but what’s significant is that more of our students are experiencing success than ever before,” said DeWayne Bowie, UL-Lafayette vice president for enrollment management.

The current graduation rate is the third highest in the state among the public universities, behind LSU in Baton Rouge and Louisiana Tech University, according to UL-Lafayette officials.

Bowie attributes the rising graduation rate in part to tougher admission standards that require high school students to be better prepared for college-level courses.

Other factors include the improvements at the university in terms of the living and learning environments and an increase in academic and financial support for students.

The university also is seeing more students completing their degree programs within four years.

The university’s four-year graduation rate increased to 15.5 percent for 2014, a growth of 1 percent since last year and a 2 percent growth over the last decade, Bowie said.