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Education Final 09-15-11 -   2.5 - Baccalaureate Graduation Rate

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Education Final 09-15-11
1. Access and Enrollment
2. Student Accomplishment
3. Student and Economic Outcomes
Action Plan
2.5 - Baccalaureate Graduation Rate
What is the graduation rate for freshmen at Washington public 4-year institutions?


Data Notes
Data Source: Higher Education Coordinating Board from NCES IPEDS data
Measure Definition: Percentage of students who enroll as first-time full-time freshmen in the fall who graduate within four or less years, five years, or six years.  Academic years indicate the year degree is awarded after the cohort's initial enrollment.
Link to Agency Strategic Plan: Improve student retention and completion to meet degree production targets.
Data Notes: "1996-97 Cohort" means first-time full-time freshman in 1996-97.  NOTE: UW and WSU branch campuses are not included because they did not admit freshman until 2006. Follow this link to access NCHEMS state comparison data.
Also Available
Action Plan: See Fund for Innovation action item under measure 1.2.
Extended Analysis: Additional drill down measures available for transfer students, by race, and Pell Grant recipients.

 Drill Down Measures

 Summary Analysis

  • The chart shows the percentage of first-time full-time freshmen at Washington public 4-year institutions that graduate from the same institution within six years.  NOTE: UW and WSU branch campuses did not admit freshmen until 2006.  Public institutions have experienced steady increases in graduation rates since 2002.
  • The increase in graduation rates is likely due to a combination of factors including higher levels of academic preparation of entering students (at some institutions) and improved student retention.
  • Students who take significantly longer than four years to graduate have often temporarily stopped-out or switched from full-time to part-time status for financial or caregiving reasons.
  • Institutions vary considerably on this measure.  Variation is primarily a result of differences in student characteristics, including the level of student academic preparation and personal/family income.
  • Graduation rates are also impacted, directly and indirectly, by the economy. As state funding for public higher education declined institutions reduced class offerings and student support services, which are critical to students' ability to complete their degree in a timely manner. An HECB staff analysis of the 2010 State Population Survey showed that nearly 66,000 residents changed their higher education plans as a result of the economy and of these 6,600 (or 10%) chose to continue school rather than enter the workforce.
  • Washington ranks highly on this measure as compared to other states. A 2009 analysis by NCHEMS shows Washington ranking eleventh among states for six-year completion.
  • For a comparison of public and ICW graduation rates, follow this link.