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Report Provides Look Into College Completion Rates

One in three students at the Indiana's four-year public colleges and universities finish school within four years,

graduation caps

Photo: Josh Mazgelis (Flickr)

The Commission for Higher Education has vowed to increase college graduation rates in Indiana.

Only about 30-percent of students at the state‘s four-year public colleges and universities finish school within four years, and only half get their degree within six years according to the Indiana College Completion Reports released this week.

“This report, unlike other reports, shows that students are completing in many different ways, but the on-time completion rates are troubling to all of us,” said Teresa Lubbers, the state‘s Commissioner for Higher Education.

Fewer than one out of ten students at Indiana‘s two-year colleges get their degree in two years, according to the report.

The study does not delve into reasons for the low completion rate. Instead, Lubbers says it is a baseline report that only includes data from the state‘s public colleges and universities – private school data was not included.

“This kind of a comprehensive report has never been done in Indiana before,” Lubbers says. “Our hope is that it gets better and that this is a baseline for adding more information and more schools in the future.”

The commission has set goals to have 45-percent of Indiana residents to hold some sort of college degree by 2018, with that number rising to 60-percent by 2025. It‘s around 30-percent right now. Lubbers says their data show that taking longer to graduate costs the students money, as well as the state.

“We calculated that an additional year of college, at a minimum, comes with a price tag of about $50,000,” she says. “That‘s in terms of the cost of tuition and lost wages during the time, and of course the state isn‘t benefiting from having people in the workplace either.”

There is also a racial and ethnic gap in graduation rates. Minorities graduate at a rate that is 24-percentage points lower at Indiana‘s two-year colleges and 31-percentage points lower at four-year schools.

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