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February 20, 2014

Study spotlights Indiana college completion rates

One in 10 students pursuing two-year degrees finishes on time.

A new report on college completion for students who earn a degree, regardless of the path or timeline, was released Tuesday.

The report by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education highlights the need for a post-secondary degree or credential and presents data collected from Indiana colleges through a partnership between the state’s public colleges, the National Student Clearinghouse and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said improving college completion begins with a clearer understanding of “where we are and where we need to go.”

Although an on-time degree is the best and most affordable option to college graduation, it is understood there are a mix of students including full-time students, part-time students, transfer students and students who change credentials or degrees, Lubbers said.

Statewide, 28.2 percent of students who attend two-year colleges complete a degree and 68.6 percent of students who attend a four-year college complete a degree.

After finding that data, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education has put a strategic plan in place to promote an increase in college completion to 60 percent of the state’s population by 2025.

To meet that challenge, colleges in the state are creating new programs to promote completion, the report said.

The report looks at college completion at Ivy Tech, Indiana University Kokomo and various other Indiana campuses, as well as what can be done to improve the graduation rate.

A DIFFERENT KINDOF CAMPUS

Susan Sciame-Giesecke, interim chancellor at Indiana University Kokomo, said officials at Indiana University Kokomo are very aware and focused on completion rates.

Data collected from Indiana University Kokomo indicates 8.5 percent of students at the school complete their degrees on time and 16.4 percent complete late for a total campus completion rate of 24.9 percent. The number is increased by the number of students who transfer and complete a degree — 17.8 percent — for a total student completion rate of 42.6 percent.

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