Graduation and Not, With and Without Financial Aid

We have seen that, averaged over Virginia’s public, four-year programs, Pell and Commonwealth Award grantees have underperformed considerably in terms of graduation rates.  The military survivor/dependents students underperformed at four years but led the pack at six.  Perkins students (career and technical grants) outperformed at four and five years but were slightly below the military rate at six.  The SCHEV-administered VGAP students underperformed the no-support group at four years and outperformed at five and six; they considerably outperformed the school-administered Commonwealth Award group at all levels.

The SCHEV reports also provide data by institution; I have taken a look at the five research universities.

Note: Data are for the 2010-11 first-time-in-college cohort; the graduation rates include degrees at any institution.  Graphs below report the differences between the group that received the specified support at the beginning of college and the group receiving no support at the same university.

SCHEV did not report military survivor, etc. data for any of the five universities so each had nine or fewer of those students (SCHEV does not report data for groups <10). 

As to the Perkins career and technical grantees, this is the picture:


Note: No Perkins data for George Mason.

Second Note: The no-support rates at these universities are different so we need to view the graph with some care:


Indeed, a 1% improvement over the 94.8% 6-year at UVa or the 95.1% at W&M is a Big Deal.  Similarly Tech at 90.2%.  The two urban U’s, not so much.  Negative differences indicate underperformance vs. the no-support group and any such, methinks, raises a yellow, if not red, flag.

One might wonder whether these research universities would exhibit a strong draw for career and technical ed. students; in any case, W&M outperforms (spectacularly) (again, relative to its own students not receiving any aid).

BTW: Those 5- and 6-year Perkins numbers at W&M both are 102.9%.  You can ask SCHEV how a cohort pass rate can go over 100%.

Turning to the other end of the spectrum, the Pell grantees:


The New York Times pinged UVa for not taking a lot of Pell students.  They did not deign to notice that THE UNIVERSITY does a good job of graduating those Pell grantees that it does admit.  Indeed, that +2.4% at six years comes from a 97.2% pass rate for the Pell grantees.

VCU’s Pell grantees are quite another story.

SCHEV does not report Commonwealth Awards data for UVa and W&M.  Students with that support do OK at Tech and Mason, not so OK at VCU.


Next, the athletes.


VCU shines here, graduating 22% more students at five years with that aid than with none, 14% more at six years (87.1% in both cases).

Finally, here are the results for the other forms of financial support, starting with PLUS loans.


That 6-year UVa rate is 100.7%.  Good work if you can get it.

Stafford loans, subsidized:


Stafford loans, unsubsidized.


Tuition Waiver for faculty and staff, e.g., at VCU, and some waivers for mature citizens:


The Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program:


At five and six years, this program looks to be a general success.

And finally, Work-Study:


Another success, esp. at four years in four cases.

Now let’s all read Part 4 of Jim Bacon’s series on higher-ed. accountability (due out approximately tomorrow) to see if his numbers make all this unnecessary.