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Postsecondary Education Outcome Measures: ED, DOD, and VA

Postsecondary Education Outcome Measures: ED, DOD, and VA

Consistent with Executive Order 13607: Establishing Principles of Excellence and Public Law 112-249: Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans, the United States Departments of Education, Veterans Affairs, and Defense have worked together to identify outcome measures that will provide information on available educational programs to support informed decision making about educational choices, especially as they relate to Veterans and service members. This effort was guided by the following set of questions:

  • What does a Veteran or service member need to know when choosing a school?
  • What do agencies, congressional leaders and key stakeholders need to know about the effectiveness of educational benefit programs?
  • How do Veterans and service members perform in different educational programs?
  • Is there variability in outcomes across institutions for different types of students?
  • How do affordability and outcomes vary across institutions?

A set of outcome measures are proposed to capture important information on students’ experiences during school, upon completion of a degree or certificate, and post-graduation using existing administrative data. An additional set of outcome measures that require additional analysis and in some cases data from additional data systems have been identified for further exploration. The following chart lists each measure, with a brief definition of the measure, the cohort or population the measure describes, and an indication of the ability to report the measure. Click on the response for NCES under Departments reporting to see an example of existing data reported at the national level. Following the chart, there is a brief discussion of several overarching measurement issues that will help you understand some of the differences in available information from each of the three Departments.

Click the plus and minus (/) symbols below to expand/collapse the table sections.


Outcome Measure

Definition

Cohort/Population

Reporting Subpopulations

Departments Reporting

During School

Retention rates within institutions

The percentage of first-time degree or certificate seeking students/beneficiaries who complete their educational program or return to the same institution to continue their studies the following year.

Cohort consists of any first time students/ beneficiaries enrolled in the institution in a given year.

* 4-year institutions:
full-time Bachelor’s degree seeking, part-time Bachelor’s degree seeking;
* Less than 4- year institutions:
full-time degree or certificate seeking students, part-time degree or certificate seeking students.

ED = Yes (year one to year two)
VA = Yes (potentially multi-years)
DOD = Yes (potentially multi-years)

Persistence rates of students

The percentage of the cohort who completed a program or enrolled for credit at any institution in two consecutive years.

Cohort consists of any first time students/beneficiaries enrolled in an institution in a given year.

* 4-year institutions:
full-time Bachelor’s degree seeking, part-time Bachelor’s degree seeking;
* Less than 4- year institutions:
full-time degree or certificate seeking students, part-time degree or certificate seeking students.

ED = Yes (every 8 years, multiple years for a single nationally representative cohort)
VA = Yes (annually, year to year, multiple years for a single cohort)
DOD = Yes (annually, year to year, multiple years for a single cohort)

Course Completion rates within institutions

The percent of courses attempted for credit that were successfully completed (received a passing grade) in a given year.

Population includes any student/beneficiary who enrolled in a course for credit in the current year.

TBD

ED = Yes (every eight years at the national level)
VA = No
DOD = Yes

Transfer-out rate from institutions

The percentage of the full-time, first-time students/beneficiaries who transferred to another institution. within 150% of normal time (e.g., 6 years for 4 year institutions, 3 years for 2 year institutions and below).

Cohort consists of any first time, full-time students/beneficiaries enrolled in the institution in a given year.

TBD

ED = Yes (when reported)
VA = Yes
DOD = will develop an alternative measure that includes part-time student

Graduation / Completion

Graduation / Program Completion rates from institutions

a.) GR 150 - The percentage of first time degree or certificate-seeking students/beneficiaries who complete a degree or certificate within 150% or of normal time.
b.) GR 200 - The percentage of first time students/beneficiaries who complete a degree or certificate within 200% of normal time.

Cohort for GR 150 and GR 200 consists of first time degree or certificate seeking students/beneficiaries enrolled in an institution in a given year followed for 150 percent and 200 percent of the time for normal completion.

* 4-year institutions:
full-time Bachelor’s degree seeking,full-time Associate’s degree seeking,full-time undergraduate certificate seeking students;
* Less than 4- year institutions:
full-time degree seeking, full-time undergraduate certificate seeking students.

ED = Yes (annually)
VA = Yes (annually, but subject to under-reporting associated with voluntary reporting)
DOD = will develop an alternative measure that includes part-time students

Number of Degrees / Certificate Completions from institutions

The number of degree or certificates completed by all students/ beneficiaries within a given year.

Population includes all students completing a degree or certificate in a given year.

Level or type of degree/ completion, from less than 2-year certificates through graduate degrees and postgraduate certificates by field.

ED = Yes (annually)
VA = Yes (as allowed with voluntary reporting)
DOD = Yes (annually)

Median Federal Student Loan Borrowing

 

The median amount of Federal student loans borrowed for students’/beneficiaries’ undergraduate study at the institution. All Federal loans for undergraduate study, including Parent PLUS loans, are included for this population of borrowers.

 

 

Population includes all students/beneficiaries who borrowed for students’/beneficiaries’ undergraduate study at the institution and who graduated or withdrew from the institution in the given year.

 

TBD

ED = Yes
VA = possibly, VA is exploring the possibility of utilizing ED’s NSLDS system.
DOD = possibly, DOD is exploring the possibility of utilizing ED’s NSLDS system.

Post Graduation

Loan Default or Repayment rates

Loan default rate, also known as Cohort Default Rate (CDR), is the percentage of an institution’s students/ beneficiaries who took out Federal student loans and defaulted on their Federal student loans within 3 years of entering repayment.

Population includes all borrowers who entered repayment three years earlier.

TBD

ED = Yes
VA = possibly, VA is exploring the possibility of utilizing ED’s NSLDS system
DOD = possibly, DOD is exploring the possibility of utilizing ED’s NSLDS system

Future Exploration

Average number of years to complete degree/certificate

The average time to complete is the average number of years that it takes a student/beneficiary to complete a degree or certificate. For students who graduate/complete in a given year, the total number of years students/ beneficiaries were enrolled (or used the GI Bill/TA) to complete a degree or certificate divided by the number of completers.

Population includes all students/beneficiaries who complete a degree or certificate within a given year.

TBD

ED = Yes (every 8 years)
VA = TBD
DOD = TBD

Average number of institutions attended prior to completing degree

The average number of institutions attended by a student/beneficiary prior to degree or certificate completion. For students who graduate/complete in a given year, the total number of institutions in which students/ beneficiaries were enrolled (or used the GI Bill/TA) divided by the number of graduates/completers

Population includes all students/beneficiaries who complete a degree or certificate within a given year.

TBD

ED = Yes (every 8 years)
VA = TBD
DOD = TBD

Employment rates in field of study

Employment rate in the field of study is the percent of students who completed a specific number of years prior and are now working in an occupation related to their field of study (as defined by BLS).

Population includes all students/beneficiaries who completed a specified number of years prior.

TBD

ED = Yes, every 8 years for a nationally representative population


VA = TBD
DOD = TBD

Unemployment rates

The unemployment rate is the percent of students/beneficiaries who completed or withdrew from a specific institution a specified number of years prior, who are not currently enrolled in any postsecondary institution, and are looking for work, but not employed.

All students who graduated or withdrew from the institution a specified number of years prior who are not currently enrolled, not employed, but looking for work.

TBD

ED = Yes, every 8 years for a nationally representative population
VA = TBD
DOD = TBD

Average salary for graduates

The salary is the average annual earnings for students/beneficiaries (not currently enrolled in school/or in active duty) two years after they complete their degree or certificate.

All students/beneficiaries who completed two years prior.

TBD

ED = Yes, every 8 years for a nationally representative population.
VA =TBD
DOD = TBD

Beneficiaries: VA = All recipients of GI Bill benefits; DOD = All recipients of TA/MYCAA

Time Frame: ED = Fall or Oct 15; VA = Aug 1-July 31; DOD = Oct 1-Sep 30



Developing Comparable Outcome Measures across ED, VA, and DOD:
Overarching Measurement Issues

Postsecondary education programs include a wide array of fields with different programs offering undergraduate and graduate certificate programs of varying lengths of time, as well as 2-year, 4-year, and graduate degrees. Key differences in student populations served; the focus of the education benefits programs; and program administration practices across VA, DOD, and ED result in several measurement issues.

  • The postsecondary student population is diverse, representing students with a range of prior experiences. As a result, a number of the ED outcome measures included in the College Navigator are based on the experiences of first-time students. In contrast, the VA and DOD educational benefit programs of concern are designed to provide educational opportunities to active duty service members in the case of DOD and to Veterans in the case of VA. While some of the key ED outcome measures in the College Navigator are for first-time students, the VA and DOD outcome measures will be based on first-time beneficiaries.


  • Another primary difference is the calendar period that underlies the definition of a year. In ED data, each institution either sets its own fall official reporting date that is tailored to the institution’s calendar or uses the ED default option of October 15; many of the ED measures are based on a cohort of students that is defined based on fall enrollment at the time of the official reporting date. In contrast, VA uses an August 1 through July 31 reporting period and DOD uses an October 1 through September 30 reporting period. Due to the fact that many VA and DOD students do not attend full-time on a school year calendar, both VA and DOD count students and their participation in education programs throughout the year.


  • VA and DOD are able to draw on individual student records to aggregate data for student and institutional outcome measures. In contrast for the universe of all postsecondary students, ED receives only institutional aggregates of data for students attending each institution.


  • Some of the ED outcome measures that require detailed student level data are only available at the national level from nationally representative sample surveys that are conducted every 8 years [the Beginning Postsecondary Study (BPS) and the Baccalaureate and Beyond Study (B&B)]. By comparison, with student level data on their full populations of beneficiaries, DOD and VA will be able to compute these outcomes each year.


  • Finally, while much of the underlying data are either part of a mandatory data collection or data that are required for program administration, a few key data elements are voluntary. Specifically, the reporting of institution level transfer rates is left to the discretion of the institution in the Integrated Postsecondary Data system (IPEDS) that provides the data for the annual ED outcome measures. In a similar vein, the reporting of degree or program completions for Veterans receiving VA educational benefits is left to the discretion of the institution. The VA completion and graduation data are also affected by the fact that Veterans who exhaust their VA benefits prior to the completion of a degree or certificate may not be known to the institution as Veterans and likely go unreported in the Veteran completion/graduation data. In the case of DOD, students may leave the service prior to completing a degree or certificate.
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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education