You Asked: PDCCC grad rate affected by transfers

Published 9:31 am Saturday, May 5, 2012

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Why is the community college’s graduation rate below 16 percent?

FRANKLIN—Transfers to four-year colleges, students shifting to part-time from full-time status and students taking longer to graduate affect Paul D. Camp Community College’s graduation rate.

Dr. Jerry Standahl, director of assessment and institutional research at the college, said the graduation rate tracks first-time, full-time students who graduate in three years. It doesn’t account for students who transfer to four-year institutions, or take longer than three years to graduate.

It also doesn’t account for students who start full time and switch to part time.

“These students may start out at full time, but then discover they have to fulfill needs either through work or family and they move to part time,” Standahl said.

From 2006 to 2011, Paul D. Camp has been below the Virginia Community College System average twice for its graduation rate. In 2006 the school’s rate was 14.6 percent compared to an average of 16 percent, and in 2010, PDCCC’s rate was 15.2 percent compared to a 17.4 percent average.

In both those years, the school had high transfer rates. In 2006, the school saw 18.3 percent of its students transfer and in 2010, 27 percent.

In 2011, PDCCC’s graduation rate was 26 percent and its transfer rate was 10 percent.

In 2007 the school’s graduation rate was 17.4 percent, which beat the VCCS average of 16.7. The graduation rate was 19.3 percent for the school in 2008, compared to a VCCS average of 17.4 percent.

PDCCC’s graduation rate was 21.3 percent in 2009 compared to 17.5 percent for other state community colleges.

“Overall we appear to be a little higher,” Standahl said.