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Graduation Rates for Popular Online Colleges
#1
The Department of Education changed how it calculates graduation rates a few years ago. As you can see on each college's profile on the College Scorecard website, the numbers include full-time and part-time students and transfer and first-time students. A commenter is referencing outdated articles from 2016. 

I was curious to see the graduation rates at some of the popular colleges and universities that are completely or mostly online or have a large online student body. I just kind of picked schools that popped in my head by sector and looked at a list of schools that have the most online students. I left out the community colleges since most don't offer 4-year programs. 

These are 8-year graduation rates. With the exception of Liberty University, all of these schools have acceptance rates above 80%. I avoided more traditional schools like Arizona State University because they're selective. I didn't grab the numbers for Devry, Strayer, or University of Phoenix because they're broken down by campus, and I wasn't going to look at all of them. I guess Colorado State University Global Campus is too new as an accredited university to have an 8-year graduation rate. All of the for-profits that were recently purchased by public and not-for-profit university systems are categorized as for-profit because they haven't been non-profit long enough to witness any potential changes in 8-year graduation rates. 

It was interesting to see that nationally accredited schools like Full Sail and Columbia Southern had higher graduation rates than the regionally accredited for-profit universities. I'm hesitant to do a direct comparison because I taught at an NA school and an RA school, and the accreditation standards were drastically different. 


For-profit

Capella - 11%

Colorado Technical University - 25%

Ashford University (purchased in 2020) - 25%

APUS - 22%

Walden - 21%

Grand Canyon (conversion to non-profit is recent and hasn't been fully approved) - 33%

Purdue/Kaplan (purchased in 2018) - 26%

Full Sail - 39%

Columbia Southern - 49% 

Northcentral (purchased in 2019) - 34%


Not-for-profit

Liberty - 40%

WGU - 43%

SNHU - 51% 

Excelsior - 46%

Bellevue - 41%

Brandman (recently purchased by UMass) - 64%


Public 

TESU - 44%

Fort Hays - 61%

University of Maryland Global Campus - 27% 

Northern Arizona University - 58%

Lamar University - 39%

Central Washington University - 60%

Charter Oak State College - 61%

SUNY Empire State College - 44%


https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/
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#2
CSU Global started classes in 2008. It's been RA since 2011. It's part of the State of Colorado university system so maybe that's why you can't find the stats?
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#3
Since I live in Texas, I decided to look at the Texas campuses for Strayer, Devry, and University of Phoenix.

Strayer (Texas) - 14%
University of Phoenix (Texas) - 36%
Devry (Texas) - 21%

(07-16-2021, 09:11 PM)ss20ts Wrote: CSU Global started classes in 2008. It's been RA since 2011. It's part of the State of Colorado university system so maybe that's why you can't find the stats?

It has its own entry, and the data is as recent as the 2018-2019 school year. So, that makes sense. It was too new to have a graduation rate.
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#4
Obviously there's a set of public unis that are doing substantially better than all the others.  What are they doing that the others aren't?
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#5
(07-16-2021, 09:20 PM)Alpha Wrote: Obviously there's a set of public unis that are doing substantially better than all the others.  What are they doing that the others aren't?

It would be interesting to know what FHSU is doing because it has a 91% acceptance rate, and it 11,000 out of their 15,000 students are online. The issue with UMGC might be that it serves the military around the world at satellite campuses. The other numbers for the public universities aren't all that surprising.
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#6
TESU and COSC are a bit skewed. Many of their students only take a handful of courses and are then graduating.

Purdue Global is non-profit. They still have small campuses in 5 states for in person classes. That part is odd! Why they have an online law school I don't know. You can't take the Bar Exam is you go to an online law school. Well you can sit for the Cali Bar but nowhere else. It is also ACBSP accredited. The place is such an odd duck. Quack

(07-16-2021, 09:56 PM)sanantone Wrote: It would be interesting to know what FHSU is doing because it has a 91% acceptance rate, and it 11,000 out of their 15,000 students are online. The issue with UMGC might be that it serves the military around the world at satellite campuses. The other numbers for the public universities aren't all that surprising.

FHSU....wow....what??? Did not see those numbers coming!
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#7
(07-16-2021, 09:57 PM)ss20ts Wrote: TESU and COSC are a bit skewed. Many of their students only take a handful of courses and are then graduating.

Purdue Global is non-profit. They still have small campuses in 5 states for in person classes. That part is odd! Why they have an online law school I don't know. You can't take the Bar Exam is you go to an online law school. Well you can sit for the Cali Bar but nowhere else. It is also ACBSP accredited. The place is such an odd duck. Quack

(07-16-2021, 09:56 PM)sanantone Wrote: It would be interesting to know what FHSU is doing because it has a 91% acceptance rate, and it 11,000 out of their 15,000 students are online. The issue with UMGC might be that it serves the military around the world at satellite campuses. The other numbers for the public universities aren't all that surprising.

FHSU....wow....what??? Did not see those numbers coming!

Kaplan was a for-profit university that was purchased by the Purdue system in 2018, so the graduation rates for the 2018-2019 school year don't reflect any potential changes that might have occurred when it went public. Even if the Department of Education had graduation rates up to the 2019-2020 school year, that wouldn't be enough time to have an effect on the 8-year graduation rate.

Oh, the law school! That was Concord Law School, which was owned by Kaplan. It was intended to educate those looking to practice in California.
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#8
(07-16-2021, 10:11 PM)sanantone Wrote: Kaplan was a for-profit university that was purchased by the Purdue system in 2018, so the graduation rates for the 2018-2019 school year don't reflect any potential changes that might have occurred when it went public. Even if the Department of Education had graduation rates up to the 2019-2020 school year, that wouldn't be enough time to have an effect on the 8-year graduation rate.

I'm well aware of what Kaplan was. My husband attends PUG. I still think it's a weird deal. I wouldn't include stats from them since It's not true PUG stats. Kaplan has been gone for a few years. There's still another 5-6 years to go before you'll find 8 year grad rates for PUG. Hopefully it survives that long.
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#9
(07-16-2021, 10:17 PM)ss20ts Wrote:
(07-16-2021, 10:11 PM)sanantone Wrote: Kaplan was a for-profit university that was purchased by the Purdue system in 2018, so the graduation rates for the 2018-2019 school year don't reflect any potential changes that might have occurred when it went public. Even if the Department of Education had graduation rates up to the 2019-2020 school year, that wouldn't be enough time to have an effect on the 8-year graduation rate.

I'm well aware of what Kaplan was. My husband attends PUG. I still think it's a weird deal. I wouldn't include stats from them since It's not true PUG stats. Kaplan has been gone for a few years. There's still another 5-6 years to go before you'll find 8 year grad rates for PUG. Hopefully it survives that long.

I don't expect Ashford/UAGC, Brandman/UMass Global, and Northcentral to change much, but Kaplan/PUG did undergo some major changes with the addition of the competency-based programs. I expect Northcentral to change the least since it was purchased by National University, which kind of operates like a for-profit system. Their accreditation is currently being threatened.
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#10
It's hard to judge a school just based only on graduation rates.  

"Whether the graduation rate posted is 31% or 100%, the rate is unlikely to accurately represent the quality of the institution"

https://wallyboston.com/college-scorecar...titutions/

"The government only tracks graduation rates for first-time, full-time students who complete degrees where they began, excluding those who transfer from one school to another."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grad...-students/
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