What Lurks Behind Graduation Rates? A Lot of Noise—and Meaning

There can be lots of variation underneath a college’s overall graduation rate. Recently, a colleague here at The Chronicle stumbled across an unusually detailed breakdown of graduation rates that drove the point home.

The breakdown, which was compiled by the Indiana University system’s institutional-research office, might not seem all that revelatory at first. All colleges that receive federal financial aid report graduation rates for some subgroups—by race and sex, for instance—to the federal government. But the Indiana data go further, looking at categories like residency status, first-semester grades, and more.

That gives us a close glimpse of what the top-line data leave out. Let’s take a look:

The system’s overall graduation rate is 58.2 percent. <Read more.>

Via Beckie Supiano, The Chronicle of Higher Education.