As graduation season draws to a close and the Student Achievement Measure’s relaunch of the #CountAllStudents campaign continues, APLU is seeking to collect brief stories of students on your campus who will graduate this spring, but won’t be counted in your institution’s federal graduation rate because they either transferred or attended part-time.
This year, the timing of the campaign (which began in 2016) coincides with Congress debating whether to lift the ban on student-level data as part the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (based on language from the bipartisan College Transparency Act, with which APLU was deeply involved). That ban currently restricts the federal government’s ability to accurately report the complete outcomes of transfer and part-time students. The result is an incomplete official federal graduation rate – one that counts students who transfer out as dropouts and doesn’t count at all those who transfer in or attend part-time. This incomplete graduation rate gets prominently highlighted on sites like the College Scorecard and the one that your institution is required to disclose.
By putting names, faces, and stories to our effort, we hope to better demonstrate the critical need to lift the data ban so we can count all students on the federal graduation rate as well as in post-collegiate employment data. The campaign also serves to highlight SAM, which APLU helped create and currently works to oversee with American Association of State Colleges and Universities. SAM is a voluntary reporting tool that shows the outcomes of the students the federal graduation rate does not. Thus, it can provide much more complete data.
Help Us Identify and Collect Students’ Stories
To participate in the campaign, we ask that the appropriate staff or office on your campus identify up to three students to highlight – spring 2018 graduates who either transferred from another institution or started part-time. That office should work with the student(s) to fill out this brief online form that will provide us with the necessary background information, including a photo that will be included with the vignette(s). The online form includes consent information that must be read and agreed to by the student or we will be unable to publish their information.
The campaign is expected to launch the first week of May to coincide with the beginning of college graduation season. To be part of the initial launch, we must receive the student stories as soon as possible.