Emails, responses to PolitiFact Texas, Dominic Chavez, senior director of external relations. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Oct. 3 and 10, 2012

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Oct. 3, 2012

4-year university graduation rate:

FY 2000: 19.9%

Cohort: 41,925; Graduates: 8,352

FY 2011: 29.9%

Cohort: 61,485; Graduates: 18,396.

Comments: This data is positive in two ways.  Not only did rate go up but the number of students increased as well.  This shows we have enrolled and graduated more students in 4-years than 11 years ago.  However, note that still 7 in 10 of these students did not graduate.

Graduation Rate definition/methodology:

First-time, full-time entering, degree-seeking, students enrolled in a minimum of 12 SCH their first

fall semester who have graduated from the same institution or another Texas public or

independent institution.  NOTE: The federal government rate only accounts for students who enter and graduate from the SAME institution.  More narrow of a measure.  Texas institutions report this rate to feds, and then we calculate the more “generous”rate for state purposes.

Definition: First-time entering degree-seeking students who enrolled in a minimum of 12 SCH their

first fall semester who graduated from the same institution or another Texas public or

independent institution after four, five, and six academic years.

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Oct. 3, 2012

How does THECB track students?

Students are tracked via SSN.  If a student does not provide or does not have an SSN, institutions assigns a unique numeric identifier.

From: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) [mailto:wgselby@statesman.com]

Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:22 AM

To: Chavez, Dominic

Subject: RE: Follow up part 1

 

The cohort here consists solely of fourth-year undergraduates?

1139 am

Oct. 10, 2012

For an example:

The FY11 graduation rate is the percentage of students who enrolled for the first-time in a university as full-time student in fall 2007 and graduated by close of FY 2011.  To say another way, the whole cohort of first-time, full-time students who enrolled in fall 2007 was 61,485.  By close of FY 11 (4 years later), 18,396 of those students had graduated (or 29.9%).

 

Per other question:

The federal calculation for graduation rates is different than the state’s.  The federal calculation ONLY gives credit in their rate for students who enrolled and graduated from the SAME institution within a period of time.  Our calculation (the 29.9% for FY 11), accounts for ALL first-time, full-time students who graduated within 4 years, regardless of where they started, how many times they transferred, and where they ultimately earned their degree.  We have the ability to track this “student churn”….many states do not.  Bottom line: our data is more representative of actual student success rates in Texas.  And we track and report part-time graduation rates to boot---something feds do not.