A National Five-Year Exploratory and Descriptive Analysis of Two-Year Public College Graduation Rates at Branch Compared to Non-Branch Campuses Public Deposited

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  • Branch campuses play an important part in postsecondary degree attainment by providing place-bound students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds in different geographical regions access to education that is convenient. Their heterogeneousness structures, including enrollment size, communities, and populations served, are not accurately reflected in the majority of the research. Currently, there is minimal performance assessment research for branch campuses. Only a small percentage of the institutions report their individual survey results to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) separately, or to other reporting agencies. The limited research available does not provide educators, researchers, policymakers, and community stakeholders the opportunity to assess performance, or make the most appropriate data-driven decisions. The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between two-year public college graduation rates at branch compared to non-branch campuses. Also, to determine if institutional size, geographic region, or student gender have an effect. This quantitative five-year exploratory and descriptive analysis were conducted utilizing the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) of an IPEDS dataset from the academic reporting periods that include 2008-2012. There were 1052 institutions that represented 5171 schools over the five years. Graduation rates were calculated at three years, 150% of normal time to graduate from a two-year college. The statistical procedures included a crosstabulation tested at the .05 level of significance. The contingency tables provided a platform to display the patterns of the relationship between the categorical data in a meaningful way. The P-values were set at 0.01 level of significance to control for Type 1 errors. The tests rejected the null hypothesis. A second chi-square test for homogeneity between the observed and expected frequencies of the variables was conducted. The graduations rates classified by school and enrollment size demonstrated greater success among the branch compared to the non-branch campus when the enrollment numbers were equal to or lower than 10,000 students. However, if the school had more than 10,000 students, the non-branch campus graduation rates were higher. The graduation rates classified by the school and geographic region demonstrated that Midwest branch campuses outperformed all campuses in every region. Furthermore, the results of the graduation rates classified by schools and gender of student showed that a male was more likely to graduate at a branch campus than a female. Whereas a female was more likely to graduate at non-branch campus than a male. The findings suggest there is a relationship between two-year public college graduation rates at branch compared to non-branch campuses. Additionally, institutional size, geographic region, and student gender did have an effect. Given the pervasive nature of performance outcomes in higher education, including graduation rates, time-to-degree completion, transparency, accountability, and the increasing demand for persistence, retention, and attainment, the results demonstrates the need for additional branch campus research to expand upon this study. This study advocates for mandatory, accurate, and transparent reporting of branch campus data separately to IPEDS and other reporting agencies. (Contains 166 references).
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