In our last blog post, we presented data from a recent report published by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) that addressed gaps in graduation outcomes for transfer students when comparing them with native students. The data were presented as a comparison of public university systems to each other and state averages across three outcome variables: four-year graduation rates, time-to-degree in years, and student credit hours (SCH) to graduate. This blog post builds on the previous data presentation by analyzing these outcome variables across public universities in Texas.
As presented in the THECB report, a junior cohort methodology was used to make comparisons between native students (those who were first-time-in-college enrollees at a particular institution) and transfer students who achieved junior classification status in fall 2016. Students in these cohorts were then tracked through AY2020 to determine four-year graduation outcomes along with the time-to-degree and SCH metrics. Universities are grouped based on the THECB’s Peer Group Categories:
Using a similar visualization pattern as in the previous blog post, each visualization below shows the metric broken out by public university, along with the statewide averages for the junior cohorts indicated by the vertical lines. Each visualization can be accessed by clicking on the tab label at the top of the visualizations, as each of the Peer Group Categories can be accessed using the drop-down menu on the right-hand side.
Time-to-Degree in Years
Semester Credit Hours (SCH) Attempted by Graduates
While the statewide average difference for the 2016 cohort was 19 percentage points (86% vs 67%), the institution-level differences ranged from a +4 percentage point gap (Transfers higher than Natives) at Sul Ross State University to a -28 percentage point difference (Natives higher than Transfers) at UT Arlington. The visualization below shows a rank-ordering of universities by percentage point difference.
Whether presented by system or university, the gap in graduation rates between Native students and Transfer students in the THECB’s junior cohort analysis is certainly a concern. The THECB junior cohort report did not include any disaggregated outcome data, so we cannot speak to any equity gaps. However, trends in transfer enrollment show that more than 52% of first-time transfers in fall 2020 were categorized as either African American or Hispanic students, up from 47% in 2015. As a statewide higher education industry, we must remain cognizant of these transfer enrollment trends and continue efforts to address gaps in outcomes related to historically underrepresented student populations.