Student Right-To-Know Act
Title I, Section 103 of the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990 requires public disclosure of relevant graduation and transfer rate information for students enrolled in colleges and universities throughout the United States receiving federal financial assistance. The purpose of this act is to provide consumer information to enable students to make informed decisions regarding college choice.
The Student Right-To-Know report is a “cohort” based study, i.e. a specific group of students established for tracking purposes. The cohort is made up of students who were enrolled for the first time in the identified fall semester, enrolled as a full-time student and declared themselves as degree seeking. The graduation and transfer rate for each cohort is calculated three years after the cohort’s initial date of enrollment and made public.
However, these numbers can be misleading because of the limitations in each year’s cohort. First, the cohort group is typically small and is not fully representative of the entire college population, i.e. part-time students and students transferring to the college are excluded from the cohort. Second, students needing developmental coursework frequently need longer than three years to complete their program requirements. Third, students with goals such as enhancing new employability skills or improving present job skills are not included in the cohort. Lastly, there are data collection issues and accurate transfer-out rates are very difficult to generate. In addition, transfer students are excluded from the transfer-out rate if they complete a degree or diploma within the three-year time period, i.e. they are only counted in the graduation rate data and this negatively impacts the transfer-out rate.
(select “Retention and Graduation Rates”)