Committee hears report on improving college graduation rates

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) –  A recent performance evaluation of over 50 million higher education records gives us new insight.  It found a direct link between the average percent of completed or enrolled courses could predict a student’s college success.

“I have friends who weren’t even involved and didn’t take any of the IB or AP classes in high school and they’re struggling incollege at the moment because either they didn’t understand the material or they weren’t prepared for it,” said University of Utah Senior Yesenia Timoteo.

One of the key elements The Office of the Utah State Auditor presented to a legislative committee today on improving student graduation rates was preparation.

“People who attend college who aren’t prepared they often spend a lot of time and a lot of money in college without completing a degree,” said David Stringfellow, Chief Economist for the auditors office.

The audit found that only 25% of recent high school students were prepared for college, it also found that students taking the recommended college prep courses were more likely to succeed.

“How intensive they were how intensive the courses were gonna be, how hard the classes and note taking was gonna be, how good you had to be able to pay attention to do multitasking and all of that,” said Timoteo.

The audit also found a big indicator for getting a degree was the completion rate of course-hours.

“Students who take more credit hours in a semester are more likely to graduate,” said Stringfellow.

It showed students who averaged 6 or less hours only had a 10% chance of getting a degree by comparison students who took 12 credit hours their probability jumped to 73%.

The audit found that those students who took an active role in their education had a much greater chance for success

“What were their preparation like in college, what was their GPA, did they participate in remedial courses, and all those things affected the rates of graduation a little bit,” said Stringfellow.

“The Office of the Utah State Auditors recommends having a more timely performance merit to help identify students who are doing poorly and be able to to help intervene to identify student behavior that will help increase their chance at graduation.


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