Even Before Study, Lubbers Offers Ivy Tech Grad Rate Fixes

Apr 20, 2015

Credit WFIU Public Radio / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wfiupublicradio/

Indiana‘s higher education commissioner says Ivy Tech‘s anemic on-time graduation rates are partly a case of growing pains.

Just 4-percent of Ivy Tech students earn their degrees in four years. Even after six years, the figure is just 28-percent -- well below the figures for community colleges in other states.

Teresa Lubbers notes Ivy Tech evolved from a vocational school to a state community college network just 10 years ago. And she says the school receives a higher percentage of students who need remedial work on basic skills.

She says Ivy Tech has already moved to reduce the effect of remediation on graduation rates by allowing students to receive credit for remedial coursework, so they‘re still able to make progress toward their degree.

“They have redesigned remediation so instead of taking non-credit-bearing courses as remediation, they’re taking that as part of a credit-bearing course,” Lubbers says.

The Senate version of the state budget calls on the Commission of Higher Education to study Ivy Tech’s lagging grad rates.

Lubbers says the commission is ready to do so if that study remains in the final bill. And she says her agency is already talking with Ivy Tech leaders about ways to improve completion rates.

One possibility: dividing the class schedule into morning, midday and evening curricula, to create more consistency for students trying to balance school, jobs and family.