Closing the College Graduation Gap

Posted by National College Access Network on December 15, 2014

NCAN Students Closing the College Graduation Gap

First Annual Benchmarking Report Finds Strong Outcomes

NCAN is pleased to release “Closing the College Graduation Gap,” the 2014 national college access and success benchmarking report. Because existing data collections and surveys are too incomplete or too infrequent to provide a clear picture of the performance of underserved students, NCAN is committed to producing meaningful annual metrics about the postsecondary outcomes of students who receive college access and success services from our members. This report, the first of an annual series, is a collaboration among 24 NCAN member organizations and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC).

This inaugural report found much good news for NCAN members and a charge to keep moving toward closing the college enrollment and graduation gaps facing low-income, first-generation students. The enrollment rates for NCAN students in four high school classes (71%, 70%, 70%, and 65% for the partial 2013 year) all exceeded enrollment rates for low-income high schools published in the NSCRC’s 2014 High School Benchmarks report. Even more encouraging is that NCAN’s enrollment benchmarks exceed those of many high-income high schools.

The report also compares NCAN’s graduation rate benchmark for the class of 2007 to the NSCRC’s “Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates – Fall 2007 Cohort” report. The graduation rate of students served by NCAN members (54.8%) was approaching the overall NSC benchmark of 59.7% for all students. This result indicates that there is more work to be done to ensure postsecondary opportunities for traditionally underserved students. However, compared to the graduation outcomes of low-income, first-generation students from the class of 2003 (45.3%), there is evidence that NCAN’s members are moving the needle on their critical mission. See the above chart for comparison of these three graduation rates.

Work on the 2015 round of the Benchmarking Project has already started. All NCAN members are encouraged to participate to help the field build the most accurate and valuable benchmarks and to receive a confidential report on their student outcomes compared to the national results. Learn more and sign up to participate!

In addition to reporting these benchmarks, “Closing the Graduation Gap” profiles five NCAN members who submitted data for the report: Bottom Line, College Now Greater Cleveland, I Know I Can, Partnership for the Future, and the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis. Follow NCAN’s blog this week as we take an in-depth look at each of them in turn.

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