November and December Articles of Interest for Higher Education Professionals


The Association for Institutional Research shared the following publications of interest for higher education professionals. Click on the titles to access the full articles. These article summaries are credited to the Electronic AIR Newsletter (December 2012 edition).

Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates (Christine Keller)

A November report by the National Student Clearinghouse, Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates, provides new analyses about the pathways, progression, and completion of students in U.S. postsecondary education. Several of the findings from this report indicate higher college completion rates than other published data on college completion. For example, more than 1 in 5 students who completed a degree did so at an institution other than the one where they started, and over 15% of two-year starters completed a degree at a four-year institution within six years. The Clearinghouse manages institutional data for 94% of students at all types of institutions and enables analysis of enrollment and completion for students across multiple institutions.

Transfer: An Indispensable Part of the Community College Mission (Melodie Christal)

The American Association of Community College policy brief, Transfer: An Indispensable Part of the Community College Mission, reports that 28% of bachelor’s degree recipients began their postsecondary education at a community college, and 47% took at least one course at a community college. This brief addresses the role of community colleges in bachelor’s degree attainment, the mobility of credits between different types of institutions, and cost savings accrued to students who start at a community college. Challenges associated with capturing the effects of transfer include providing a “precise, data-driven definition” and the ability to identify and track transfers given the nonlinear paths of students in their postsecondary endeavors.

Survey of College and University Admissions Directors (Melodie Christal)

The 2012 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Admissions Directors provides information on key issues for admissions professionals, including policies and practices related to recruiting, admission procedures, and higher education costs and programming. Highlights from the survey responses indicate that a substantial number of admissions directors believe the current average loan volume is reasonable, and students and parents are increasingly interested in identifying degree programs with strong job prospects. Other topics included in the survey are: “What student populations are the focus of admissions recruitment efforts? Are higher education costs and levels of student indebtedness affecting admissions choices? Are two-year colleges increasingly competing with four-year colleges/universities for


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