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L&C Leads Peers in Persistence and Completion Rates

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Article by: Laura Inlow, L&C Media Services, linlow@lc.edu

GODFREY –  Lewis and Clark Community College not only offers a high quality education, but also the support needed to keep students successful.

According to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Lewis and Clark continues to consistently outperform its cohort of 35 similar community colleges throughout the United States when it comes to persistence and completion rates.

L&C’s retention rate for first-time, full-time students, based on the 2018-2019 academic year cohort, was 71 percent, compared to the cohort’s average retention rate of 61 percent.

“We’re actually up one percentage point from last year’s rate, which was 70 percent,” said Director of Institutional and Library Services Dennis Krieb. “It’s incredible that the college, which has an open admissions policy, has a retention rate that high – it’s comparable to some top-tier universities.”

Part-time retention rates for the same year were 49 percent at Lewis and Clark and 46 percent for its IPEDS cohort.

When it comes to first-time, full-time graduation rates, L&C also excels at 42 percent, versus 32 percent for the cohort. Among black students specifically, L&C’s graduation rate is 36 percent, compared to the cohort’s 17 percent. From the Fall 2018 cohort, a total 675 associate degrees were conferred, compared to 560 on average in the cohort.

Krieb and Chief Academic Officer Jill Lane said these results can be attributed to a number of factors, including student support services and faculty involvement.

“We have an umbrella of student support services, like tutoring, the library, textbook exchange and more through our Student Success Center,” Lane said.” Once we get students here, we do a good job of supporting them and helping them meet their academic goals.”

When the Student Success Center was fully implemented around 2011-2012, Lewis and Clark began tracking students who used the services to measure their effectiveness. Right around that time, L&C’s persistence rates surpassed the cohort’s and haven’t stopped outpacing them since, Krieb said.

“We also do a lot of faculty training on good teaching practices and getting to know their students,” Lane said. “We train our faculty in dealing with mental health issues, in active learning and in new technology to help aid learning.”

An internal committee, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) leads most of the training. L&C faculty will also attend an annual internal conference on Keeping Your Students Successful (KYSS) March 26.

“Our faculty deserve a lot of credit for this,” Krieb said. “The data speaks for itself.”

Lewis and Clark prepares its students to be successful in the workplace right after college, or to transfer to any number of four-year colleges and universities. With more than 100 articulation agreements with a number of institutions, L&C credits transfer seamlessly. Learn more at www.lc.edu/Transferring_to_Another_College.

There is some evidence, too, that community college students are better prepared for success once they get to four-year schools. According to the Jack Cooke Kent Foundation report, “Persistence” from 2009, community college transfers are 2 percent more likely to graduate than native four-year students, and 14 percent more likely than students transferring from other four-year schools.