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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
IPFW freshmen Mackenzie Herbert, left, walks back to the dorm as she walks through the Willis Family Bridge on Tuesday.

Study: Hoosier collegians take longer to graduate

Hoosier college students are taking longer than expected to graduate and fewer are graduating from the campus where they begin their degree, a study released today found.

About three in 10 students who enroll at an Indiana four-year campus graduate on time and about half finish within six years, according to a study by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

Likewise, only one in 10 students finishes a two-year degree on time, the study found.

The study looks back six years for community college campuses, to the class of students entering in 2007, and eight years for other schools, to the class of students entering in 2005.

"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," said Teresa Lubbers, Indiana commissioner for Higher Education.

Statewide, 5.1 percent of students who attended two-year colleges finished on time at the same campus, while 15.2 percent of students completed their degrees late, but at the same campus.

An additional 7.9 percent of students transferred to a two-year college and completed a degree or completed a different degree type, for a total student completion rate of 28.2 percent.

The total student completion rate includes all students who graduate, regardless of where they complete their degree or what degree they earn.

According to the study, full-time students at two-year colleges are one and a half times more likely to complete a degree within six years than part-time students.

"Clearly, an on-time degree will always be the best and most affordable path to college graduation," Lubbers said in a statement.

"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."

At four-year colleges, 29.5 percent of students finished on time at the same campus, while 26.2 percent of students completed their degrees late, but at the same campus, the study found.

It found 12.9 percent of students transferred to a four-year college and completed a degree or completed a different degree type, for a total student completion rate of 68.6 percent.

Full-time college students at four-year colleges are six times more likely to complete a degree within eight years than part-time students, the study found.

Local data

Local college campuses data reflect a similar trend for students.

At IPFW, 6.5 percent of students who started and finished degrees at the same campus completed on time, while 25.5 percent of students completed late.

An additional 18 percent of students transferred to IPFW and completed a degree or completed a different degree type. That totals 50 percent, although the study reported it to be 50.1 percent.

At Ivy Tech, 3.8 percent of students who started and finished degrees at the same campus completed on time, while 15.7 percent of students completed late.

Ivy Tech data includes all Indiana Ivy Tech locations, not just Fort Wayne's Ivy Tech Community College Northeast.

The study found 8.2 percent of students transferred to an Ivy Tech campus and completed a degree or completed a different degree type, for a total student completion rate of 27.7 percent.

jcrothers@jg.net

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