Indiana’s public colleges are continuing to see on-time graduation rates increase. According to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s 2017 College Completion Report, graduation rates increased by more than 10 percentage points over the past five years.
Jason Bearce is the senior associate commissioner for strategy and external affairs for the ICHE. He says there’s another big take away from the report: the achievement gap between minorities and the overall student population was cut nearly in half across all campuses.
“These are really stubborn numbers and so, any change is a positive change,” Bearce says. “What’s most encouraging is that we’re seeing a sustained level of change over the long term.”
More than 15 percent fewer minority students graduate on time compared to the overall student population. The commission wants to close the gap by 2025.
Bearce says the trend can be attributed, in part, to financial aid reform. But he says colleges are also being more proactive by tracking student progress and offering more resources when a student needs help.
Although the rate increases are positive, Bearce says there is more work moving forward.
“We certainly can’t be complacent,” Bearce says. “We must continue to focus on college completion rates, continue to make sure our policies and practices align to address it.”
The commission’s goal is for the state to close the achievement gap and get 60 percent of Hoosiers completing education beyond high school by the year 2025.