Michigan Tracking System Highlights Data Behind College Student Success

The numbers confirm that Michigan students are taking longer to graduate.

by David Jesse, Detroit Free Press / July 12, 2016 0
High schools are graduating more students with the help of blended learning. Dave Parker via Flickr C.C. 2.0

(TNS) — A new tracking system looking at Michigan's college students is showing exactly what experts have been saying for years: Taking four years only for a bachelor's degree or two-years only for an associate's degree is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

The system, set up by the state of Michigan's Center for Educational Performance and Information, took a look at college completions — something the federal government also tracks. But the state data takes into account transfer students. The state system also looks at part-time students, something the federal system doesn't.

The data, being released to the public today, shows an increase in success as the years since enrollment go by. For example, at the university or college level, of the students who enrolled in 2009-10, 35.9% graduated in four years with a bachelor's degree. That rose to 57.2% in five years and 65.5% in six years.

The trend was similar at the community college level. There only was a 14.3% success rate in two years, but by six years, the rate has increased to 35.2% for students who enrolled in 2009-10.

Read the report here: http://bit.ly/29tzBrT

The success rate calculation defines student success as achieving a four-year degree at a university. Achieving a two-year degree, or a transfer to a four-year institution as a degree-seeking student, is considered success for community college students.

Marquise Wilson understands why the rates go up the further out from enrollment. The 29-year-old Detroit resident took five years to get through community college.

"I took a couple of classes one semester, then took a semester off, then went full-time, then back to part-time," he said. "It all depended on how much I had to work and what else was going on. But I got done. It just took me a while. I know lots of people that are like that."

The report also found that when incorporating other successes like certificate completion and four-year degree attainment, community colleges' comprehensive success rates are significantly higher than their success rates.

The state's higher education community worked with CEPI to develop the methodology, which they say is more accurate than other measures.

"The state universities are very pleased with CEPI's leadership in utilizing the best student data available to create a new postsecondary success rate for these institutions," said Michigan Association of State Universities CEO Dan Hurley. "This new metric will provide a much more accurate and comprehensive portrait of student success outcomes at the state universities of Michigan."

Michigan Community College Association President Mike Hansen said, "This report is another opportunity for Michigan community colleges to use data to understand more about student outcomes, especially since the report includes degree and certificate completion, as well as transfer as successful student outcomes. Only a small percentage of community college students enroll full-time, so the opportunity to follow student success for many years is also valuable."

The rates can be found on CEPI's MI School Data website at www.mischooldata.org. There are statewide rates along with rates for each institution.

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