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ERIC Number: ED542509
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 36
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 33
How to Graduate High-Risk Students: Lessons from Successful For-Profit Colleges and Schools in Texas
Frishberg, Ellen; Lee, John B.; Fletcher, Carla; Webster, Jeff
TG (Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation)
This project studied four career college and school campuses in Texas that had higher than average graduation rates and lower than average student loan default rates to determine what they did to achieve these positive outcomes. The visits to the campuses found that a conscious, concerted effort to integrate students into the academic and social systems of a school does work toward successful student completion and placement. These schools provided what the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices recommended in a recent issue brief (Wakelyn, 2009): a clear pathway and goal within a limited timeframe, information systems that tracked student progress, mandated advising, working in cohorts, and extensive focus on job placement. The study used a mixed method of inquiry, both qualitative and quantitative. Data were reviewed from federal and state sources that provided student graduation rates at career colleges and schools in Texas. Those data, along with the judgments of national and Texas-based experts, were used to select four institutions that offered programs of different lengths and fields of study, and also had high graduation rates along with low student loan default rates. These institutions were visited, and more than 50 structured interviews were completed with owners/directors, student services staff, faculty, students, and alumni. In addition, the report compares data on career colleges and schools with data about students from public and private nonprofit postsecondary institutions in Texas. The report shows how students in career colleges and schools differ from those enrolled in other sectors. This study finds that the relative success of these career colleges and schools in retaining and graduating high-risk students is a function of their organizational practices and structure, including offering short programs, block scheduling, and student cohort enrollment. In addition, these colleges establish a culture and set goals that stress student retention, completion, and graduation in a way that defines this mission as primary to achieving student success. These examples describe academic and student support services that promote completion and job placement for students at risk of failure. The results suggest a combination of approaches that could be used in other types of institutions that enroll students at risk of dropping out of school. The cases suggest that it is the combination of efforts that accounts for the results, rather than any single approach. (Contains 17 charts.) [This paper was co-commissioned with the Council for the Management of Educational Finance (Council) to JBL Associates, Inc.]
TG (Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation). PO Box 83100, Round Rock, TX 78683. Tel: 800-252-9743; Tel: 512-219-5700; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation
Identifiers - Location: Texas