Grad Rates: It’s About the Students

How can we improve college graduation rates? According to a study recently published in SAGE Open , we’ve been searching for that answer in the wrong place. Looking at for-profit universities, author Tim Gramling of Colorado Technical University finds that student characteristics including race, GPA, and enrollment status play a far more dominant role than institutional factors in predicting graduation odds. The article identifies five significant factors that policymakers need to take into account:

SAGE OpenPresident Obama’s goal is for America to lead the world in college graduates by 2020. Although for-profit institutions have increased their output of graduates at ten times the rate of nonprofits over the past decade, Congress and the U.S. Department of Education have argued that these institutions exploit the ambitions of lower-performing students. In response, this study examined how student characteristics predicted graduation odds at a large, regionally accredited for-profit institution campus. A logistic regression predicted graduation for the full population of 2,548 undergraduate students enrolled from 2005 to 2009 with scheduled graduation by June 30, 2011. Sixteen independent predictors were identified from school records and organized in the Bean and Metzner framework. The regression model was more robust than any in the literature, with a Nagelkerke R2 of .663. Only five factors had a significant impact on log odds: (a) grade point average (GPA), where higher values increased odds; (b) half time enrollment, which had lower odds than full time; (c) Blacks, who had higher odds than Whites; (d) credits required, where fewer credits increased odds; and (e) primary expected family contribution, where higher values increased odds. These findings imply that public policy will not increase college graduates by focusing on institution characteristics.

Read the article, “How Five Student Characteristics Accurately Predict For-Profit University Graduation Odds,” in SAGE Open, and click here to browse more articles by topic.

This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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