College dropout rate puts financial strain on governments

AIR has launched, an interactive web site that lets users evaluate the performance of college and state systems on a range of measures, including student progression and college graduation rates, graduates’ ability to secure gainful employment, and the amount of financial aid going to students who do not graduate. The site already contains college graduation rates and expenditure data for all 50 states, six metropolitan areas, and more than 1,500 institutions.

Facts such as these are part of what prompted the National Governors Association to launch its Complete to Compete initiative.

“As states face the worst economic crisis in modern history, we must collaborate to develop common performance measurements and take concrete steps to increase completion rates within our available resources,” West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, NGA chair, said of the initiative. “From transforming first-year coursework to implementing performance funding, it is up to states and institutions to create policies that can improve degree attainment and more efficiently use the dollars invested by states and students.”

An NGA task force compiled a list of common college completion metrics that would help states identify higher-education measures that they can collect and publicly report.

Suggested metrics include degrees and certificates awarded, transfer rates, success in first-year college courses, and credit accumulation.

Laura Ascione