Picking an online college can be something of a guessing game, especially for older students, or those not attending college for the first time. The information available on retention and graduation rates has typically been at best a bit hazy and at worst nearly impossible to come by.
The Website College Choices for Adults has recently added new data regarding the dropout and completion rates for a number of online schools. This new data, combined with satisfaction survey results from students and school demographic data can actually be a valuable tool to those trying to find an online college that meets their needs.
What makes the new data even more useful is that it includes figures on transfer students and part-time students. Many online colleges previously only reported the percentages for full-time students, which don’t account for anywhere near the majority of online students.
The site can tell a prospective student what the completion rate for an online college is over a given period of time (six years, for example). Making informed, smart decisions in your college career is especially important, and this tool can help you find a school that fits into your budget and helps students to succeed.
Visitors to the site can also choose up to three online schools and compare them against one another. This allows for comparison of not only completion and retention rates, but also accrediting associations, available degree programs, enrollment figures, and student responses by percentage to questions such as “Did your experience at this school contribute to your ability to acquire job or work-related knowledge and skills?”
“We recognized that the Department of Education measures of graduation and retention rates were not wholly representative of our student populations,” said Ed Klonoski, chair of the Executive Committee for Transparency by Design and President, Charter Oak State College. “The Learner Progress metrics open up the students counted to include part-time and transfer-in students, thus giving a more inclusive view of how our students progress and complete.”
“These learner progress data give potential adult learners a more robust view of how students like them – many of whom are returning to college and doing so part-time – are persisting and completing at our partner institutions,” says Cali Morrison, manager of major grants at the nonprofit organization behind Website College Choices For Adults. “We have also extended our reporting period to reflect both 150% and 200% of ‘normal time-to-degree’(as defined by the Department of Education), to be even more inclusive of part-time students who tend to take longer to graduate.”