The Grade File: Degrees and Graduation Rates
This section focuses on what all of this is about, educateting students culminating in a degree. The graduation rate is how many students earn a degree in a given time perioud. The degree count is the total number of degrees. Both are important, but as you will see later , can be complicated.
The Student Right-to-Know-Act requires institutions to share their “graduation” rates. The official definition is italicized below.
Also known as the "Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act" (P.L. 101-542), which was passed by Congress November 9, 1990. Title I, Section 103, requires institutions eligible for Title IV funding to calculate completion or graduation rates of certificate- or degree-seeking, full-time students entering that institution, and to disclose these rates to all students and prospective students. Further, Section 104 requires each institution that participates in any Title IV program and is attended by students receiving athletically-related student aid to submit a report to the Secretary of Education annually. This report is to contain, among other things, graduation/completion rates of all students as well as students receiving athletically-related student aid by race/ethnicity and gender and by sport, and the average completion or graduation rate for the four most recent years. These data are also required to be disclosed to parents, coaches, and potential student athletes when the institution offers athletically-related student aid. The Graduation Rates component of IPEDS was developed specifically to help institutions respond to these requirements. See Graduation Rates for the current description of data collected. -https://surveys.nces.ed.gov/ipeds/VisGlossaryAll.aspx
What Does This Mean to Shawnee State University?
One issue with our data is that we have a lot of students that seek different levels of degrees as incoming students. Some colleges only offer two-year or four-year degrees to undergraduates; we offer both. While it is tremendous for student choice, it makes reporting complicated. Some reports want to know how four-year degree-seeking students do, even though we have very successful students that change their majors. This is not an issue if a college only has one type of degree options.
We need to look at all of our students, at every level and with every intention in our decision making processes. Therefore, some of the data you might see from another source may not precisely match a source that does not incorporate all the different student groups. Based on the previously mentioned definition, our students that start out seeking an associate degree, do fantastic, but switch to a two-year degree do not count in the bachelor degree rate. Conversely, if a student starts as an undecided degree-seeking student (in the four-year), also does fantastic, but switches to an associate in nursing, that student does not count.
Some students may use SSU as a way to earn credits or a degree before they transfer to another college. Perhaps SSU does not the degree the students want, and with the ease of the Ohio Transfers Module, it is easy to take courses in the General Education Program. When a student leaves the cohort and earns a degree at another institution, it counts against us. Finally, if a student starts part-time or finishes beyond the 150% time window, those students don't count (part-time) or count against the cohort (plus 150% of the time).