The Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act of 1990 is a public law that requires all post-secondary institutions that participate in student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (federal student financial aid), to disclose certain information to enrolling or prospective students. This information is provided for the purpose of assisting consumers in making comparisons among institutions, and informed decisions about which college is the best option for his or her particular needs and goals.
The data presented to fulfill this requirement consists of three parts: 1) Graduation and transfer out rates, 2) Retention rates, and 3) Ethnicity and financial status statistics for the student body. The Federal government determines the methodology by which these data are calculated. “Graduation” means the student has received a degree or certificate from the institution within the three-year period following the fall quarter of first enrollment. “Transfer out” means the student transferred to another 4-year or 2-year institution before completing a degree or certificate at this institution. “Retention” means the student was still enrolled at the institution one year after initial enrollment (sometimes called “fall-to-fall retention”), or had graduated within the year. “Financial status” refers to whether a student has received a Pell grant, a student loan other than an unsubsidized federal loan, or neither.
Data for Student Right to Know reporting are calculated according to methodologies devised by the Federal government. Student Right to Know for graduation and transfer out rates is a cohort-based report, meaning a group of students is identified according to a set of criteria, and then tracked over time to determine their outcomes. The cohort defined by the Federal government for this report is the group of students who enrolled in the fall quarter of a given year as full-time students, seeking a degree or certificate, who have never been enrolled in college before. These students must be tracked for 150% of the time it would take to earn the longest credential offered by the institution. In the case of 2-year colleges, that equals three years. The cohort being reported on in any given year will be those students who meet the criteria and were enrolled in the fall of the academic year three years prior to the academic year of the report.
Retention rates are calculated for the cohort that enrolled in the fall quarter two years prior to the year of the report. The cohort is identified using the same criteria as for the graduation and transfer out cohort, and then those students are tracked to the next fall quarter to determine what percentage were still enrolled.
The Ethnicity cohort is defined as the cohort from the most recent fall quarter before the reporting date of July 1. Financial status is reported for both the Graduation and Retention cohorts.
In addition to understanding the methodology of how the data are calculated, it is important to also understand the limits of what can be concluded from the data. Keep in mind when making comparisons with other colleges that the size of the cohort will always be small in comparison to the total enrollment of the college. In the case of Clover Park, this is because many students come here for reasons other than completing a credential, and many cannot attend full-time. Reasons that students have for attending Clover Park include to upgrade job skills, gain new skills, improve basic reading, writing, and mathematics ability, to complete continuing education hours to maintain licenses, or to explore new career interests, in addition to completing a career-focused degree or certificate program. The take-home message here is that the cohort data does not tell the whole story of student success at this institution.
The law also allows for the exclusion from the cohort those students who left college to serve in the military, embarked on a church mission, left to serve in a recognized foreign aid service of the Federal government, or who died or were totally disabled.
In compliance with the Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act of 1990, and the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, Clover Park Technical College is pleased to share the following information on its retention, transfer, and graduation rates of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduates to all current and prospective students.
For information on data reported on campus safety and security, visit the Security webpage.
The Higher Education Act (HEA) prohibits an institution of higher education from engaging in a “substantial misrepresentation of the nature of its educational program, its financial charges, or the employability of its graduates.” 20 U.S.C. §1094(c)(3)(A). Further, each State must have “a process to review and appropriately act on complaints concerning the institution including enforcing applicable State laws.” 34 C.F.R. § 600.9. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) maintains a process to investigate complaints of this nature brought by community and technical college students in the State of Washington. For more information, contact the SBCTC Student Services Office at 360-704-4315.