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Report: Majority Of Indiana Students Don’t Complete College On-Time

Posted On February 18, 2014

By Mike Perleberg

(Undated) – Indiana residents are taking more time to complete their college degrees, leading to more student debt and making them less likely to graduate, according to a new report.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education released its first ever “Indiana College Completion Reports” on Monday. The report’s purpose is to gauge the state’s progress on attaining a 60 percent college degree completion goal.

The report showed that in 2007 less than one in ten full-time college students finish a two-year degree within two years and only three in ten seeking a four-year degree complete in four years. For part-time students, the percentages were even lower.

Each additional year spent in college costs the typical Indiana students nearly $50,000 in extra tuition. It also adds extra money to the cost for each college or university to produce a graduate.

“Clearly, an on-time degree will always be the best and most affordable path to college graduation,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “At the same time, we recognize that Indiana’s completion picture includes not only full-time students who start and finish at the same campus but also students who attend college part-time, students who transfer between colleges, students who take longer and students who earn a different credential than the one they set out to pursue.”

A stark difference appeared between full-time and part-time students seeking a four year degree. Full-timers were six times more likely to graduate with the four-year degree than a part-time student.

Low-income and minority Hoosiers face a significant disadvantage in earning a degree on-time. According to the report, students in ethnic groups were 24 percentage points behind in graduations at two-year colleges. The gap at four-year schools was 31 percentage points.

The report drilled down to look at graduation numbers for individual colleges and universities in Indiana. Ivy Tech Community College saw just 5.2 percent of full-time students complete a two-year degree or certificate on-time in 2007. The success rate increased to 19.6 percent in four years and 27.7 percent in six years.

Among four-year schools based on 2005 data, Indiana University Bloomington saw 52.9 percent of students complete their four-year degree in four years. Purdue University’s on-time graduation was 41.8 percent. Ball State University’s success was 37.2 percent. Indiana State University was only 25.1 percent.

“Improving college completion is a complex problem, but overcoming Indiana’s completion challenge begins with a clearer understanding of where we are and where we need to go,” Lubbers said.

The full  Indiana Commission for Higher Education “Indiana College Completion Reports” can be found online at http://www.in.gov/che/3032.htm.