Friday, August 8, 2014

Success in the First Year of College Suggests Likely Degree Completion

Prichard Committee Statement

KY Center for Education and Workforce Statistics Releases
2014 Kentucky Postsecondary Feedback Reports

The postsecondary feedback reports recently released by the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS) show employment and earnings for graduates of Kentucky’s eight (8) public four-year universities. They also show similar information for students who start college but leave without completing a degree.

The feedback reports provide data for parents and students to make informed decisions about their courses of study given the likely wage and employment opportunities in Kentucky. The report shows that a full 80 percent of Kentucky’s graduates stay in Kentucky to work and live. For these students, and those who plan to stay in a particular region of the state, this is very helpful information. For example, in general graduates with more education make higher salaries, but a deeper look shows graduates with associate degrees from three Kentucky universities (EKU, KSU, NKU) make significantly more than their peers with bachelor degrees and nearly as much as individuals with graduate degrees. 

The Prichard Committee is especially pleased to see a focus on the data related to students who drop out of college. The feedback reports provide good information about students who start college but choose to leave without finishing a degree. In 2013, roughly 10 percent (8,833) of the total enrollment in Kentucky’s 4-year public universities left college and did not transfer to another institution. One year later, their average salary was less than $15,000 a year. Gender does not seem to be a determinate for “leavers” with males and females leaving about equally. However, the data in the report does suggest that these college students were either ill-equipped academically or lacked the dispositions needed to persist in higher-education. Nearly 70 percent of “leavers” left college with less than 30 credit hours earned (the equivalent of one year of college) and more than half (58%) had a GPA lower than a 2.0. 

As we persist in Kentucky to balance an Unbridled Learning Accountability Model that ensures College- and Career Readiness for ALL, policymakers need to be mindful that readiness implies success at the next level.  As we increase the number of students “ready” we need to also ensure that those students have the skills, dispositions and supports they need to persist in their first year of college and beyond. The data show that students completing their first year of college are much more likely to complete their degree. College and career counseling at the high school level and retention efforts at the postsecondary level are both important strategies to help students achieve their potential.

The 2014 Postsecondary Feedback Reports by Institution can be found at:  

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!