IPEDS Data Feedback Report 2012: Completions

As determined on both the Characteristics page and Finances page, most of the data provided have shined a fairly positive light on USAO. Overall, USAO's student body seems slightly more diverse and pays less for their undergraduate education than students at similar institutions.

The figures that follow could be construed as less positive, though it is important to consider them in the context of the type of school USAO is compared against here. USAO shares some critical similarities with these schools: USAO is among the smallest four-year institutions in the country and focuses on a liberal arts education. Though USAO shares the same mission and many of the same values, it is dissimilar in many other ways as shown below and in future findings. It is critical to be aware of this while moving forward with the comparisons of USAOs completions below.

As a case in point, the graph above summarizes key completion figures for USAO and its comparison group. Taken as a whole, these figures indicate that a smaller proportion of USAO students obtain their bachelor’s degree relative to students at the comparison schools. Examination of USAO's full time and part time retention rates reveals a similar pattern. Additionally, the transfer-out rate indicates that a larger proportion of students that started their post secondary education at USAO end up transferring to another institution.

This final graph displays “time to completion” numbers. This figure explains how fast the typical student obtains their degree. For most high school students, this timeframe is a firm four years. As it turns out, this is only true for some students. Most students that do obtain their baccalaureate degree take between four and six years, and it depends on a several factors. As before, this graph shows USAO students take longer to graduate than their counterparts in the comparison schools.

After reviewing all data provided in this IPEDS Data Feedback Report 2012, USAO feels it is imperative to understand the impact and full meaning of these figures, and how one must place the data provided in context of other facts and figures. Thus, while USAO’s completion rates are lower than this specific comparison group, they are actually as good (and often better) than other institutions used as a basis for comparison.