Community college aims to improve completion by 800%

Just 1.2% of the school's first-time, full-time students graduate within two years

Ivy Tech Community College's East Central region plans to raise its two-year completion rate by 800% in the next few years, Seth Slabaugh reports for the Star Press

Just 1.2% of the area's first-time, full-time students who began in 2012 graduated within two years—a full 8.8 percentage points lower than the institution's Northwest Region. Statewide, the institution's completion rate is so low that the Legislature recently froze funding for construction at all campuses.

Many of Ivy Tech's students need to take remedial courses, change majors, or withdraw or fail a class—putting them behind on their credits. Other students end up transferring to Ball State University or taking a break from school for financial or family reasons, says Ron Sloan, vice chancellor of the East Central region.

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Additionally, students who want to enroll in selective programs must complete prerequisite courses before applying to the majors, frequently pushing back their graduations.

To combat this, officials encourage high school students who want to become nurses, dental hygienists, and respiratory therapists to take certain courses either while still in high school or the summer after 12th grade.

The institution also is working to increase the number of students in a special acceleration associate degree program that puts students on track to graduate in a single year and transfer to Ball State with enough credits to qualify as a junior.

While Sloan acknowledges he picked the 800% figure "to get attention," he also says it is an achievable goal (Slabaugh, Star Press, 9/24).

Thoughts on the story? Tweet us at @eab_daily and let us know.

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