North Dakota Higher Ed Pipeline Ranks Tops in National Study
Posted on 7/5/2011
For More Information Contact: Debra A. Anderson, Director of Public Affairs & Marketing North Dakota University System Phone: 701.328.2962 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
BISMARCK, N.D. - Seamless transfer among North Dakota University System institutions has led to a first-place ranking in college completion rates for students who begin at two-year colleges and transfer to four-year universities, according to a June 30, 2011, report by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.
Titled Failure to Connect: Tuition Crisis Puts Even Community College Path to Graduation out of Reach, the report outlines the center's recommendations for improving affordability, transfer and baccalaureate degree completion. The study counts those students who earn both associate and bachelor's degrees twice; using this formula, North Dakota earned a 74 percent completion rate compared to a 33 percent national average.
"Access to affordable high-quality higher education is the top priority of the State Board of Higher Education," said Bill Goetz, North Dakota University System chancellor. "There is a direct link between the success reflected in this study and the board's policy-driven agenda. This report speaks to the strength of one unified system of higher education for all state public higher education institutions." A summary of key report strategies for state policy improvement and the related practices already in place in North Dakota include the following:
Improve Affordability: North Dakota community colleges held even the cost of tuition for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years, and the same practice is in place for 2011-12 and 2012-13. State general fund appropriations for need and academic-based scholarships increased more than $24 million for the same time period; this funding is distributed to North Dakota public, tribal and private college students. The effect of these two significant actions was not reflected in the 10-year period covered in this report, but the additional funding has significantly improved affordability in North Dakota.
Develop a Reliable, Robust Transfer System: To support seamless transfer in North Dakota, State Board of Higher Education policies have been revised and University System procedures have been updated. Significant enhancements include:
General Education Requirements Transfer Agreement: This policy requires that general education courses completed at one North Dakota campus meet the requirements of all 11 campuses. These agreements now include the five North Dakota tribal colleges.
Common Course Numbering: Not all courses are common, but those that are have the same prefix, title and course number, which helps students avoid repeating course material they've already mastered.
Articulation and Transfer Agreements: These agreements help students transfer from other states or transfer courses within majors.
Collaborative Student Process: Students enroll seamlessly on multiple campuses to access required courses, a functionality uniquely available to University System students.
Participation in the WICHE Passport Initiative: This initiative extends the University System's approach to seamless transfer to the 15-state Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education region.