Study: Racial Gap in On-Time Indiana College Graduates

State data show that black students in Indiana are less likely to graduate on-time from four-year state colleges as their white classmates. The gap becomes wider at two-year colleges, where black students are about five times less likely to graduate on time. Only a fraction of Hoosier students earn their degrees within two or four-year time frames, leading to more college costs and also putting students in danger of not completing college.

Indiana's goal is to dramatically raise the percentage of college-educated Hoosiers by 2025. The state is pushing more students to enroll in college full time and take enough courses to graduate within two or four years.

"We know that on-time completion continues to be the exception, not the rule," said Teresa Lubbers, Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education.

The Indiana College Completion Report states that only about 30% of students at the state‘s four-year public colleges and universities finish school within four years, and only one-half get their degree within six years.

Lubbers added, "This report, unlike other reports, shows that students are completing in many different ways, but the on-time completion rates are troubling to all of us."

According to the report, fewer than one out of 10 students at Indiana‘s two-year colleges get their degree in two years. The studies don't go into reasons as to why there are low completion rates. Lubbers says it is a baseline report that only includes data from the state‘s public colleges and universities – private school data was not included.

"This kind of a comprehensive report has never been done in Indiana before. Our hope is that it gets better and that this is a baseline for adding more information and more schools in the future," Lubbers said.

The commission is said to have set goals to have 45% of Indiana residents hold some sort of college degree by 2018, with that number rising to 60% by 2025. This number is around 30% at the moment. The study does not go into reasons for the low completion rate.

"We calculated that an additional year of college, at a minimum, comes with a price tag of about $50,000. That‘s in terms of the cost of tuition and lost wages during the time, and of course the state isn‘t benefiting from having people in the workplace either," Lubbers said.



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