Recent change ties state funding to completion rates

Colleges focus less on filling classes, more on retention

While enrollment numbers have traditionally been tied to funding for community colleges, a recent change has put more focus on completion rates.

The state Senate in 2015 passed a bill that demanded all public colleges achieve certain standards set aside based on performance. These new standards would determine the amount of funding they would receive.

Only about half of students enrolled in a two-year community college completed their degree in2012, according to a study by the assistant professor of higher education at the University of Texas, Lyle McKinney. There are several reasons for this. Many students transfer out. Ac- cording to the same report 78 percent of students who enroll in a four-year university have some college experience, but not a completed degree. Others never re-enroll after the first year, some for financial reasons and many because they fell too far behind to catch up.

“A recent study shows that 58 percent of all high demand jobs in Texas will require a degree.” -Raymond Paredes, Texas Higher Education commissioner

The recent changes have left schools more focused on retention efforts, rather than enrollment. There is less concern with filling classrooms, and more on how many students complete their degree.

The Student Success Points Model, as it is referred, is a points- based program that focuses on retention rather than enrollment. Colleges must earn points based on various requirements from their student’s educational path. Schools earn points based on how many students had passed their 15-credit-hour mark, as well as 30 credit hours. They also receive points based on how many students completed their degree. These points are tallied over a three-year period, and funds equaling $185 are awarded for each point received.

This encourages schools such as Del Mar College to focus less on filling classrooms and more on the education of each individual student.

“A recent study shows that 58 percent of all high- demand jobs in Texas will re- quire a degree, but the state is far behind the national statistics for degree completion,” said Raymund Paredes, Texas Higher Education commissioner. “Less than 40 percent of the state’s workforce has a college degree.”

Del Mar College has taken steps to ensure completion rates grow by implementing a mandatory meeting with Retention Services should a student fall in danger of dropping below a 2.0 GPA. Each student will meet with a case manager to assess their individual needs and concerns to ensure that they have all the opportunities for success available to them.

Retention Services is in Room 208 in the Harvin Center, available 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, and the services are free to Del Mar students.

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