Ivy Tech sees increase in key success metrics

Ivy Tech ranked most efficient in U.S. for degree delivery

INDIANAPOLIS– Ivy Tech Community College announced increased success numbers after the annual review of its six-year academic cohort. According to an Ivy Tech Institutional Research report, the success measure is 51.3 percent, an unprecedented 7.3 percentage point increase.

Ivy Tech serves the most complex student body in Indiana higher education. Seventy percent of their students receive financial aid, 73 percent are working adults, 21 percent are single parents and nearly 25,000 are minority students. As in other community colleges, Ivy Tech students rarely follow the traditional pathway to degree completion that is more common among four-year residential institutions. In the fall 2012 semester, only 4 percent of the entire student body were taking 15 or more credit hours, the course load traditionally needed for an on-time degree. Students enter with varying circumstances and career goals. For example, some attend completing only few classes to qualify for a promotion or a better job. Others intend to earn a degree or industry-recognized credential for immediate employment, while some intend to start their education at Ivy Tech and transfer to a four-year institution prior to or following graduation from Ivy Tech.

“This comprehensive success measure is much more representative of our student body and is used by most community colleges as a key statistic,” Ivy Tech Community College Provost/Senior Vice President Academic Affairs Mary Ostrye said. “Traditional measures tend to compare our students against those attending four-year residential colleges and universities. The fact is that our students face life challenges that often interfere with meeting their educational objectives in a timely manner. Unplanned stop-outs and part-time attendance increase the time to complete educational goals, which by traditional measures is termed failure. These measures typically neglect to recognize those students who earn some credits and transfer to a four-year institution. Given our average graduation rate is five and a half years, the six-year rating is the truest indicator for our success rates.”

The combined student body success measure increase of 7.3 percentage points at the six-year point is defined by students who a.) earned a credential and entered the workforce b.) earned a credential and transferred to another institution c.) earned some credits and transferred to another college/university or d.) are still enrolled at Ivy Tech. The number increased to 51.3 percent from 44 percent a year prior and from 40 percent just three years prior.

Within the last three years, the College instituted a variety of student success and retention initiatives as part of its Accelerating Greatness strategic planning efforts. “Ivy Tech has adopted this new strategic plan to focus on improving student success and completion. From academics, to student services, to process improvement and cost savings, our faculty and staff are focusing on ways to help all of our students succeed in reaching their educational goals,” Ivy Tech Associate Vice President for Planning and Research Jill Robinson Kramer said.

Ivy Tech’s statistics differ from those reported by the Commission for Higher Education, as the state tracks only first-time, full-time students. The College’s numbers take into account full-time, part-time and transfer students. In 2005, the General Assembly formally established Ivy Tech as the state’s community college and created a statutory mission to offer credits that transfer to four-year institutions. Since this statutory change, more Ivy Tech students have transferred than earned a credential from the College. “Transfer is an important mission of the College,” said Ivy Tech Assistant Vice President of Institutional Research Cory Clasemann. “The large number of incoming and outgoing transfer students Ivy Tech educates each year confirms the need to have a process that enables institutions to follow the success of Hoosier students throughout their educational career.”

A second report, completed by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact in June 2013, gives Indiana an efficiency rating of “very high” for two-year institutions. Indiana was the only state in the nation to receive this rating, which indicates the effectiveness per dollar spent is considerably above average. Indiana was rated “moderate” for effectiveness of two-year institutions, which indicates that the graduation rate is equivalent to the anticipated rate. In contrast, the report ranked Indiana as a “low” in effectiveness and “moderate” in efficiency for four-year institutions.

“Both of these reports are positive indicators of the work we are doing at Ivy Tech. While our effectiveness rate is moderate, our efficiency is the highest in the country. Consistent with our mission, we will continue to work on improving all elements of student success,” said Ostrye. “Our focus is on completion and we will continue to strive to become a leader in this area. The MHEC report rating of ‘very high’ in efficiency confirms the school will need to find more dollars in order to ultimately improve our graduation rates.”

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

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