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APLU Urges Congress to Lift the Ban on Student Level Data to #CountAllStudents

Washington, DC – Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today released the following statement in support of #CountAllStudents – a campaign to tell the stories of Class of 2016 graduates who won’t be counted in their institution’s federal graduation rate because they transferred or attended part-time.

“The #CountAllStudents campaign is taking an abstract data policy debate and putting faces and stories behind some of the students who will proudly receive their diplomas in the coming month, yet won’t be counted on the federal graduation rate simply because they transferred or started part-time. This is wrong. All students matter and all students should be counted. The federal graduation rate needs to be changed.

“The student body at colleges and universities across the country has evolved significantly over the years with more students working to support themselves and their families while attending school or transferring after starting at a community college or regional school. So many current and prospective students along with policymakers and others look to a school’s graduation rate as a measure of success. But in most cases they are completely unaware that they are looking at an incomplete and misleading measure. More than half of bachelor’s degree recipients attend more than one school, yet the school from which they graduate gets no credit and the school from which they transferred will show them as having dropped out.

“It is time for Congress to lift the ban on student-level data so that we can count all students and get a clear and accurate graduation figure along with other key information such as post-collegiate employment. At a time when virtually all businesses rely on rich data to make informed decisions, the federal government is stuck in a time warp with faulty data. It doesn’t have to be like this. The Student Achievement Measure (SAM) shows us how a little more data can paint a much more complete and accurate picture of student progress and success. Nearly 600 colleges and universities are participating in SAM. Now we need Congress to lift the ban on student-level data so we can count all students at all schools.”

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