1 TIME is the ENEMY The surprisig truth about why today s college studets are t graduatig... ad what eeds to chage Time Is the Eemy 1
2 September 2011 Goverors Who Get It Some leaders ru from challeges; others ru toward them. Whe it comes to college completio, the umbers ca be dautig. So troublig, i fact, that some leaders may be tempted to keep the public i the dark. The last thig they wat to do is deliver more bad ews, especially i times like these. That s ot the case for the leaders listed below. By participatig i this groudbreakig report, they have courageously committed their states to cofrotig the college completio challege head o. These goverors uderstad the cosequeces of igorig thousads of college dropouts: the shrikig family icomes, the weakeed ecoomic competitiveess, the squadered taxpayer ivestmets, ad the hollowig out of our civic egagemet. But they kow the upside, too. They share our optimism that better days ad millios more college graduates are ahead because uder their leadership states are o the move. New laws are hittig the books. New policies are takig hold. Ad studets are already begiig to reap the rewards of a reiveted system of America higher educatio desiged to meet moder eeds. Improvig college completio begis by esurig that we cout the success of every studet. Thaks to the courageous leaders of these 33 states, we have ow doe so. Without them, this historic report would ot have bee possible. Complete College America, the citizes of their states, ad all i our coutry who hope for a brighter future owe them our gratitude. Whe it comes to the vital importace of college completio, there s o questio: These goverors get it. Gov. Ja Brewer (Arizoa) Gov. Mike Beebe (Arkasas) Gov. Edmud Gerald Brow, Jr. (Califoria) Gov. Joh Hickelooper (Colorado) Gov. Rick Scott (Florida) Gov. Natha Deal (Georgia) Gov. Neil Abercrombie (Hawaii) Gov. C.L. Butch Otter (Idaho) Gov. Pat Qui (Illiois) Gov. Mitch Daiels (Idiaa) Gov. Steve L. Beshear (Ketucky) Gov. Bobby Jidal (Louisiaa) Gov. Marti O Malley (Marylad) Gov. Deval Patrick (Massachusetts) Gov. Mark Dayto (Miesota) Gov. Haley Barbour (Mississippi) Gov. Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixo (Missouri) Gov. Bria Sadoval (Nevada) Gov. Joh Lych (New Hampshire) Gov. Susaa Martiez (New Mexico) Gov. Bev Perdue (North Carolia) Gov. Joh Kasich (Ohio) Gov. Mary Falli (Oklahoma) Gov. Joh A. Kitzhaber, MD (Orego) Gov. Tom Corbett (Pesylvaia) Gov. Deis Daugaard (South Dakota) Gov. Bill Haslam (Teessee) Gov. Rick Perry (Texas) Gov. Gary Richard Herbert (Utah) Gov. Robert McDoell (Virgiia) Gov. Chris Gregoire (Washigto) Gov. Earl Ray Tombli (West Virgiia) Gov. Matthew Mead (Wyomig) Copyright 2011 Complete College America. All rights reserved.
3 CONTENTS Time is the eemy 2 Methodology 4 Part 1: The College Graduatio Crisis Notraditioal studets are the ew majority 6 Part-time studets rarely graduate 8 Graduatio odds are especially low for studets who are Africa America, Hispaic, older, or poor 10 Studets are wastig time o excess credits Ad takig too much time to ear a degree 12 Remediatio: Too may studets eed it, ad too few succeed whe they get it 14 Time is ruig out: Five essetial steps 16 Part 2: Results from the States Total degrees ad certificates 18 Graduatio rates: Certificates 20 Graduatio rates: Associate degrees 24 Graduatio rates: Bachelor s degrees 28 Average legth of time ad credits to degree 32 Erollmet i remedial educatio 34 Graduatio from remedial courses 40 Trasfers from two-year to four-year colleges 42 Part 3: State Profiles 43 Time Is the Eemy 1
4 Time is the eemy This is ot a ordiary itroductio. There s o time for that. Uless we move with urgecy, today s youg people will be the first geeratio i America history to be less educated tha their predecessors. Cosider this a soberig wake-up call ad a urget appeal for actio ow. Iside these pages you will get a uprecedeted look behid the ivy-covered walls of America s public colleges ad uiversities ad ito how well they are educatig all we repeat, all of today s college studets. The all part is what s ew. Surprisigly, util this report, o oe has bothered to measure ad report the success or failure of all U.S. college studets. We ve oly bee trackig studets who are o campus for the first-time, goig full-time. That s all the federal govermet requires of colleges ad uiversities, ad util ow few exceeded this miimal stadard. But 4 of every 10 public college studets are able to atted oly part-time. Which meas leaders have bee makig policy decisios about higher educatio abset critical iformatio about 40 percet of the studets, as if their success or failure was less importat tha that of traditioal full-time studets. How ca this be? Worse, there s more. Start full-time ad the trasfer to a differet istitutio? You have t bee couted. Receive some of the billios of dollars i federal grats give out each year to atted college? Few have followed up to check if you dropped out or graduated. Older studets, studets trapped i remediatio, studets pursuig valuable career certificates all have bee virtually ivisible to policymakers, elected officials, ad taxpayers util ow. Complete College America fudametally believes that for the Uited States to have ay hope of leadig the world agai i the proportio of our citizes with a college educatio, we must first see every studet. This icludes the part-timers ad older studets who are strugglig to balace jobs ad school, the millios who are trapped i the Bermuda Triagle of remediatio, ad the may firstgeeratio freshme who too ofte are left to fed for themselves whe they arrive o campus. We caot tackle what s holdig them back from success if we do ot uderstad their challeges ad the complicated atures of their lives. Thaks to the courageous ad elighteed leadership of goverors ad higher educatio istitutios that shared their data, this historic report fially allows us to see what s really happeig o campuses i 33 states. All studets ow cout ad are beig couted. We ow have a much more complete picture of where we stad ad what eeds to be doe so that all studets have a fair shot at success. Cosider these fidigs: There is a ew America majority o campus. Sevety-five percet of today s studets are jugglig some combiatio of families, jobs, ad school while commutig to class; accordig to the U.S. Departmet of Educatio, oly a quarter go full-time, atted 2 Complete College America
5 residetial colleges, ad have most of their bills paid by their parets. our coutry will simply ot be ecoomically competitive if these studets do t succeed. Part-time studets rarely graduate. Eve whe give twice as log to complete certificates ad degrees, o more tha a quarter ever make it to graduatio day. Poor studets ad studets of color struggle the most to graduate. Eve though more of these studets tha ever before are erollig i college, too few ed up with certificates or degrees. Give chagig demographics, Studets are takig too may credits ad too much time to complete. Excessive course-takig is slowig dow progress to certificates ad degrees. Ad studets are spedig too much time i school. Remediatio is broke, producig few studets who ultimately graduate. Sadly, efforts iteded to catch studets up are most ofte leavig them behid. The Big Idea: Time is the eemy of college completio. These historic data have revealed a commo thread ad a aimatig priciple to guide our work to boost college graduatio: The loger it takes, the more life gets i the way of success. More studets are workig, ad they are workig more hours tha ever before. May ca afford to atted oly part-time, extedig the years util they graduate. More come to our campuses uderprepared for college ad the get trapped i broke remedial approaches that do t help, as time keeps slippig away. More are overwhelmed by too may choices ad too little structure, causig aimless waderig ad wasted semesters ad years. All of this adds up to more ad more time. As the clock rus ad the caledar turs, we all kow what happes: Studets lives fill up with jobs, relatioships, marriages, childre, ad mortgages; the list goes o ad o. Not surprisigly, college ofte gets left behid: a few years of courses, o degree, ad a lot of debt. The result is a yawig skills gap caused by too few traied workers for more high-skill jobs tha ever. Icomes shrik. Ad America falls further behid. But the path forward is clear. Ad thaks to the leadership of the 33 states that provided the historic data i this report ad to the commitmet of the 29 goverors who have pledged their states to sigificat reform as members of the Complete College America Alliace of States there is great reaso for optimism. We ca help more studets graduate. We ca provide a better deal for taxpayers. We ca create stroger ecoomies i our commuities, states, ad coutry. But we must redouble our efforts to do so ow. There s o time to waste. Time Is the Eemy 3
6 Methodology The data preseted i this report were provided by the 33 participatig states themselves, usig the Complete College America/Natioal Goverors Associatio Commo Completio Metrics. Natioal fidigs i each category were based o the calculated medias of the state data. More tha 10 millio studets eroll i public istitutios aually i the states whose data are captured i these fidigs a clear majority of America studets i public colleges ad uiversities today. While we recogize that there may be some variace i the data higher educatio istitutios provided to their states, the sigificat umber of studets represeted meas that the most alarmig treds ca be traced across all of the states represeted i these fidigs. About the Commo Completio Metrics Commo metrics uiformly desiged ad applied help us frame our data collectio to be most useful for drivig chage. Moreover, adoptig ad reportig commo metrics uifies us i a shared goal ad commuicates our commitmet to doig the hard work ecessary to brig about improvemet. I July 2010, the Natioal Goverors Associatio (NGA) adopted the Complete College America Commo Completio Metrics i aoucig its Complete to Compete iitiative, placig the metrics at the core of NGA s call to goverors to make college completio a priority. This sigificat actio sigaled a ew atioal focus o the importace of cosistet data to documet the progress ad success of postsecodary studets across all states. For more iformatio o the Commo Completio Metrics ad the compaio Techical Guide, please visit 4 Complete College America
7 Part 1: The College Graduatio Crisis Time Is the Eemy 5
8 What have we leared? Fidig 1 Notraditioal studets are the ew majority. 75% 75% of studets are college commuters, ofte jugglig families, jobs, ad school. 25% 25% of studets atted fulltime at residetial colleges. Ad if they atted part-time, the federal govermet does t eve track their success as if they re ivisible. Graduatio couted: 60% Full-time studets Graduatio ot couted: 40% Part-time studets Actio Fidig 1 It s time to start coutig all studets. 6 Complete College America
9 What do we do about it? First thigs first. States eed to uderstad who today s studets are ad how they re performig. Otherwise, states are flyig blid. Govermets are good at coutig traditioal studets: those who are first-time o campus, goig full-time. But they are oly 25 percet of today s public college studets. The federal Itegrated Postsecodary Educatio Data System (IPEDS) does t cout what happes to part-time studets, who make up about 40 percet of all studets, or does it cout the success of trasfer, low-icome, or remedial studets. The 33 states that submitted data for this report are closig this data gap, but may others still ca t aswer basic questios such as: What percetage of our public college studets are part-time, balacig work, classes, ad/or family resposibilities? Which remediatio programs are successfully gettig studets back o track? How may additioal years ad credits are studets takig to ear a certificate or degree? We urge all states to measure what matters most, disaggregatig by race/ethicity, age, geder, fulltime or part-time status, ad icome level: Outcome metrics Degrees awarded aually (umber ad chage over time), graduatio rates, ad trasfer rates. Progress metrics Remediatio (etry ad success), success i first-year math ad Eglish, credit accumulatio, retetio rates, course completio, ad time ad credits to degree. progress: 33 states are ow reportig the right data The followig 33 states gave us data usig the Complete College America/Natioal Goverors Associatio Commo Completio Metrics. Time Is the Eemy 7
10 Fidig 2 Too few studets graduate. For part-timers, results are tragic eve whe they have twice as much time. 1-year certificate withi 2 years Full-time Part-time 27.8% 12.2% 2-year associate withi 4 years 18.8% 7.8% 4-year bachelor s withi 8 years 60.6% 24.3% Actio It s time to rethik schedulig ad programs to help more studets atted full-time. 8 Complete College America
11 What do we do about it? Today s full-time ad part-time studets eed ew, shorter, ad faster pathways to degrees ad certificates of value. Colleges should: Use block schedules, with fixed ad predictable classroom meetig times, so that part-time studets who are jugglig jobs, families, ad school ca kow with certaity whe they ca go to work each day. Allow studets to proceed toward degrees or certificates at a faster pace, with shorter academic terms, less time off betwee terms, ad year-roud schedulig. Simplify the registratio process by erollig studets oce i a sigle, coheret program rather tha makig them sig up every term for idividual, ucoected courses. Reduce the amout of time studets must be i class by usig olie techology ad allowig studets to move o oce they ve demostrated competecy. Form peer support ad learig etworks amog studets i the same program. Embed remediatio ito the regular college curriculum so studets do t waste time before they start earig credits. Provide better iformatio o every program s tuitio, graduatio rates, ad job placemet outcomes so that studets ca make more iformed decisios at the frot ed. Progress: Some states are helpig studets balace priorities New York: The City Uiversity of New York offers Accelerated Study i Associate Programs (ASAP) to help studets complete associate degrees more quickly. By usig block schedulig, studet cohorts by major, ad other supports, studets ca effectively balace jobs ad school. The results speak for themselves: ASAP studets have three times the graduatio rate of their peers who do ot participate i the program. Teessee: Oly Teessee has a statewide approach to helpig studets balace work ad school. The 27 Teessee Tech Ceters have average completio rates of 75 percet, with some ceters regularly graduatig all of their studets. Ulike traditioal approaches, studets eroll i whole academic programs rather tha idividual courses, streamliig the path to completio by removig the burdes ad cofusio of idividual course selectio ad availability. Programs are offered from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Moday through Friday, providig studets with schedulig predictability so they ca keep jobs while goig to school. Time Is the Eemy 9
12 Fidig 3 Graduatio odds are especially low for studets who are Africa America, Hispaic, older, or poor. Full-time Part-time 1-year certificate i 1.5 years 2-year associate i 3 years 4-year bachelor s i 6 years 1-year certificate i 1.5 years 2-year associate i 3 years 4-year bachelor s i 6 years Africa America 15.0% 7.5% 39.9% 7.8% 2.1% 14.5% Hispaic 18.5% 11.1% 46.5% 9.1% 2.6% 16.7% Older (25+ years at etry) 30.2% 14.4% 27.0% 11.3% 4.6% 10.6% Low-icome (Pell grat) 23.1% 11.8% 45.2% 10.9% 4.3% 17.3% Actio It s time for completio, ot just erollmet, to become the goal. 10 Complete College America
13 What do we do about it? States must get serious that graduatio, ot just erollmet, is the goal. Showig up is t eough. Colleges eed icetives to esure that all their studets also fiish up, ad they must be willig to share the results of their efforts. States should set completio goals, statewide ad by campus. Ad they should tie at least part of colleges fudig to their success i meetig these goals. Start with a hadful of explicit, easy-touderstad measures such as gais i the umber of certificates ad degrees awarded, the percetage of studets completig o time ad trasferrig from two-year to four-year colleges successfully, ad the umber of courses completed. To esure sustaiability, tie a modest percetage of fudig to performace ad the steadily icrease it over time. PROGRESS: 29 states are leadig reform efforts Members of the Complete College America Alliace of States have committed to: Settig statewide ad campus-specific degree ad credetial completio goals through 2020; Collectig ad reportig o commo measures of progress ad sharig those results publicly; ad Reivetig higher educatio to smooth paths to completio through aggressive state- ad campuslevel actio plas. Time Is the Eemy 11
14 Fidig 4 Studets are wastig time o excess credits... Certificate Should take 30 credits Studets take 63.5 credits Associate Should take 60 credits Studets take 79.0 credits Bachelor s Should take 120 credits Studets take credits excess eeded... ad takig too much time to ear a degree. Certificate Should take 1 year Associate Should take 2 years Bachelor s Should take 4 years Full-time studets take 3.3 years Full-time studets take 3.8 years Full-time studets take 4.7 years Part-time studets take 4.4 years Part-time studets take 5 years Part-time studets take 5.6 years Stayig i school loger does t sigficatly icrease studets chaces of graduatig. For istace, givig full-time commuity college studets oe extra year to ear a associate degree ad givig full-time college studets two extra years to ear a bachelor s degree oly icreases graduatio rates by 4.9 percet for both groups. We must help them complete faster. Actio 12 Complete College America It s time to give studets more efficiet pathways to success.
15 What do we do about it? Colleges eed to recogize that time is the eemy. With today s studet populatio, more time ad more choices ofte add up to less success. Beig able to egage i a exteded period of self-discovery or sample multiple courses out of catalogues the size of phoe books might work for studets who have the luxury of ulimited time ad moey. But this approach does t work for the early 50 percet of studets who work more tha 20 hours a week or for the 25 percet of commuity college studets who work more tha 35 hours a week. Colleges should: Require formal, o-time completio plas for every studet, updated aually. Eact caps of 120 credit hours for a bachelor s degree ad 60 credit hours for a associate degree. Create a commo geeral educatio core program to esure cosistecy. Require full trasferability of commo core courses. Adopt alterative pathways to help studets ear college credits, such as through Advaced Placemet, olie learig, ad accelerated competecy-based courses. Progress: Some states are boostig productivity Coecticut: Full-time erollmet i commuity colleges icreased dramatically whe colleges bega usig full-time erollmet status as the default whe processig studet fiacial aid applicatios. The strategy shows studets that attedig college full-time is ofte more affordable tha they expect. Texas: To reduce the likelihood that studets will ear uecessary ad excessive credits, colleges ad uiversities lose their state subsidy for studets who exceed a certai credit-hour threshold. Additioally, studets are charged out-of-state tuitio if they exceed limits for repeatig courses or if they take classes that have cotet essetially idetical to oes they have already completed. Florida: The state is usig comprehesive degree acceleratio strategies such as dual erollmet (allowig studets to ear college credit while i high school), early admissio, credit by examiatio, ad Advaced Placemet/Iteratioal Baccalaureate credit. These strategies are made possible through a commo course-umberig system that allows credits from two-year colleges to be easily trasferred to four-year istitutios. Time Is the Eemy 13
16 Fidig 5 Remediatio: Too may studets eed it, ad too few succeed whe they get it. Remedial classes have become the Bermuda Triagle of higher educatio. Most studets are lost, ad few will ever be see o graduatio day. f those seekig a associate 50.1% odegree require remediatio those seekig a bachelor s 20.7% ofdegree require remediatio Remedial studets are much less likely to graduate. 1-year certificate i 1.5 years 2-year associate i 3 years All studets Remedial All studets 22.6% 13.1% 13.9% Remedial 9.5% 4-year bachelor s i 6 years All studets 55.7% Actio Remedial 35.1% It s time to fix broke approaches to remediatio. 14 Complete College America
17 What do we do about it? The curret remediatio system is broke; too may studets start i remedial courses ad ever ear a credetial of ay kid. Colleges eed to: Provide alterative pathways to a career certificate or career-related credetial for studets with major academic weakesses. Divert studets from traditioal remedial programs they are t workig. Maistream as may studets as possible ito college-level courses. Provide co-requisite ad embedded support for those eedig extra help. Itesify istructio ad miimize the time ecessary to prepare studets for etry ito college-level courses. Elimiate the may exit poits where studets are lost by either ot passig or ot erollig i courses. Aswer the fudametal questio is what s beig taught i developmetal educatio what studets really eed? It s time to revisit both the structure ad goals of remedial math. Math should be a gateway, ot a gatekeeper, to successful college ad everyday life. Readig ad writig should be itegrated. Overhaul the curret placemet system. Curret placemet tests are ot predictive. If placemet tests are give, provide studets with pretest guidace, practice tests, ad time to brush up. Progress: Several states are reivetig remediatio Few states have established statewide remediatio policies, but may are movig i that directio. I fact, most of the states that have wo Completio Iovatio Challege grats from Complete College America are usig the fuds to implemet remediatio reforms, icludig Arkasas, Colorado, Georgia, Idiaa, Ketucky, Marylad, Texas, ad West Virgiia. Time Is the Eemy 15
18 Time is ruig out Five essetial steps that states should take right ow 1. Cout all studets, set state- ad campus-level goals, ad uiformly measure progress ad success. By providig data for this report, 33 states have already prove that it s possible to cout the success of every studet. Ad the 29 goverors who have pledged to fulfill the commitmets of membership i the Alliace of States are settig goals ad reivetig higher educatio to create the coditios for higher achievemet. More states should do the same. Ad the federal govermet should try to catch up by fillig damagig gaps i the atioal database, raisig the stadard of measuremet, ad coutig every studet i our coutry. 2. Reduce the time it takes to ear a certificate or degree. The surest path to more college completios is the shortest oe. This does ot mea dumbig dow courses or udermiig quality. Esure that uecessary credit requiremets are ot added to certificate ad degree programs. Demad robust, comprehesive trasfer agreemets across campuses, systems, ad states so studets ca easily take their hard-eared credits with them istead of losig valuable time whe they must cotiually start over. 3. Trasform remediatio so that studets ear as quickly as possible college credits that cout. It s bee prove: Curret remediatio approaches do t make it more likely that studets will graduate. Fixig remediatio ow may be the best thig we ca do to boost college completio. Ad it s clear what eeds to be doe: Start as may uderprepared studets as possible i first-year, full-credit classes. Do this by addig extra class time ad tutorig support, but do t make the studets wait to ear credits that cout toward their degrees. 4. Restructure programs to fit busy lives. It s time to face facts: College studets today are goig to have to work while tryig to graduate. What else ca they do whe college is so expesive? Our respose simply caot be idifferece. The best approaches block classes: Studets atted full-time by learig from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., five days a week. Eve better, create cohorts so similar studets ca support oe aother. Complicated lives are easier whe people who uderstad ca lea o oe aother. 5. Joi Complete College America. Goverors from 29 states already have, ad they re beefittig from access to a hearty bad of impatiet reformers ad experts i higher educatio policy ad practice who uderstad the ecessity of makig chages ow that ca sigificatly boost college completio. There s o questio: A vital movemet is buildig across America to boost college completio. Sice time is the eemy, why wait to get o board? 16 Complete College America
19 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This is a uprecedeted report, which would ot have bee possible without the support ad hads-o expertise ad assistace of may people ad istitutios. The 33 states: their goverors, higher educatio leaders, ad higher educatio istitutios. They showed real courage i providig these data, the good ad the bad. Our philathropic parters: Bill & Melida Gates Foudatio, Caregie Corporatio of New York, Ford Foudatio, Lumia Foudatio for Educatio, ad the W.K. Kellogg Foudatio. Our staff: Sta Joes (Presidet), Cheryl Orr Dixo (Seior Vice Presidet), Tom Sugar (Seior Vice Presidet ad Project Lead), Mike Baumgarter (Vice Presidet, Fiace ad Special Projects), Domiique Raymod (Director, Alliace State Relatios), Wes Moore (Research Aalyst), Reee Davidso (Executive Assistat), ad Jeff Staley (Associate Vice Presidet, State Higher Educatio Executive Officers). Ad our productio parters: KSA-Plus Commuicatios, which provided editorial assistace ad graphic desig.
20 about complete college america It s really about the states... we re just here to help. Established i 2009, Complete College America is a atioal oprofit with a sigle missio: to work with states to sigificatly icrease the umber of Americas with quality career certificates or college degrees ad to close attaimet gaps for traditioally uderrepreseted populatios. The eed for this work is compellig. Betwee 1970 ad 2009, udergraduate erollmet i the Uited States more tha doubled, while the completio rate has bee virtually uchaged. We ve made progress i givig studets from all backgrouds access to college but we have t fiished the all-importat job of helpig them achieve a degree. Coutig the success of all studets is a essetial first step. Ad the we must move with urgecy to reivet America higher educatio to meet the eeds of the ew majority of studets o our campuses, delicately balacig the jobs they eed with the educatio they desire. Complete College America believes there is great reaso for optimism... ad a clear path forward. With a little more support ad a lot of commo sese we ca esure that may more youg people get the high-quality college educatio that will help them live productive ad fulfillig lives. All Americas will share i the beefits of their success H Street, NW, Suite 850 Washigto, DC completecollege.org