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Ohio colleges issued report card, receive average grades

Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor

More and more students are choosing to attend college following high school, but not every incoming freshmen will graduate.

Maybe even less than people assume.

A recent report released by the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, an affiliate of the United States Chamber of Commerce, found that completion rates at most four-year colleges linger around 50 percent.

The report, released June 19 and titled “A State-by-State Report Card on Public Post-Secondary Education,” examined post-secondary performance and policy nationwide in two- and four-year institutions.

“This report begins to look at how states are doing in preparing students for jobs after college and the value state taxpayers are getting in meeting the demands of local economies and employers,” said Margaret Spellings, president of the ICW, in a press release.

Despite the average grades for Ohio, Ohio State boasts a graduation rate that is much higher.

“The most recent reporting cycle has Ohio State at an 80 percent graduation rate,” said Dolan Evanovich, OSU’s vice president for strategic enrollment services.

Evanovich attributed OSU’s high graduation rate to the fact that the university does its best to admit the best and most prepared students.

He also said the university has a nationally ranked first-year experience program for students and that they are working on a similar program for second-year students.

Florida, Texas and Minnesota were recognized as leaders in the report, but no state earned an A in a majority of categories.

Evanovich was quick to point out that the numbers presented in the report included open-admission universities which would bring statewide averages for graduation rates down.

The post-secondary institutions were graded in the report on student access and success, efficiency and cost-effectiveness, meeting labor market demand and transparency and accountability, while each state received grades on policy environment and innovation.

Ohio scored around the national average in the report findings.

Four-year institutions in Ohio received a C in every category except meeting labor market demand, in which they received a B.

Two-year institutions received a C in efficiency and cost-effectiveness and meeting labor market demand, but received a D in student access and success and transparency and accountability.

The state policy environment received an A from the ICW, but Ohio also received an F in the innovation category.

“I think the results help illuminate that some state systems are doing a far better job of graduating students with the dollars they’re spending,” said Rick Hess, director of education policy studies for the American Enterprise Institute, in the press release.”And, that too few states are providing students, families and taxpayers with the information they need to make good choices.”

Relative to inflation, tuition at universities and colleges across the U.S. has increased threefold.

“With tuition rising at three times the rate of inflation, we want to work with the business community to ensure that students who invest in their education learn the knowledge and skills necessary to enter an increasingly competitive global workforce,” Hess said in the release.

Other important points released in the report include the fact that only one state has a graduation of more than 50 percent for two-year institutions and without reforms, the U.S. is projected to fall 7 million degrees short of meeting labor demand.

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