Study: More Students on Pace to Graduate on Time

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Indiana Commissioner For Higher Education Teresa Lubbers Indiana Commissioner For Higher Education Teresa Lubbers

A report from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education says more Hoosier college students with financial need are staying on track to graduate on time. The number of 21st Century Scholars completing 30 credit hours per year has increased by 23.4 percent at four-year colleges, and 24.2 percent at two-year institutions.

The report, Reforming Student Financial Aid to Increase College Completion, features the second-year results from legislation passed in 2013 which created financial incentives for students to complete degrees on time. 

Under the reforms, students must complete 30 credit hours per academic year to remain eligible for financial aid. Students receiving the Frank O'Bannon Grant, would receive lower financial aid if they fail to meet the 30 credit hour mark.

"Students who complete at least 15 credits a semester save money, are more likely to graduate, and enter the workforce sooner," said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. "Double-digit gains in the numbers of students meeting the 30-credit-hour benchmark for on-time completion demonstrate the ongoing positive results of 2013’s financial aid reform as well as the benefit of aligning state funding to Indiana’s goals for higher education attainment."

Lubbers says one of the main challenges is on the community college level where many students are balancing jobs, families and school. She says those students have an understandable perception that completing school will take longer, and they'll do better because of it.

"We're trying to change that mindset to say that even though in the short run, it might be a little harder, you will benefit from your education earlier," said Lubbers. "We also know that students who actually are taking those extra number of credits are more likely to complete, period." 

The Indiana General Assembly passed additional financial aid reforms this year, which the commission says "creates a smoother path back to financial aid eligibility for students who fail to meet the 30-credit-hour requirement for one year but work to get back on track the next."

The commission estimates a cost of at least $50,000 in tuition, fees and lost wages for each additional year students spend in college. You can read the full report below:

Lubbers says one of the main challenges of the program remains at the community college level.
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