Research firm: SCC has eighth-highest success rate among U.S. community colleges

Southeast Community College has the eighth-highest success rate among community colleges in the United States, according to a list published recently on the CNNMoney website.

The website's story is titled "How does your community college stack up?" The list of colleges was compiled by College Measures, described as "a joint venture of the American Institutes of Research and Matrix Knowledge Group." A chart was created for CNNMoney to help students find the best options for college. used U.S. Department of Education data to compile the list.

SCC's No. 8 ranking comes with a 76-percent success rate, which is "based on the percentage of students that graduated within three years or transferred to four-year colleges." During the 2010-2011 academic year, 76 percent of an Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System cohort of first-time, full-time SCC students had achieved their educational goals, either by earning an award at SCC (38 percent) or transferring to a four-year institution (38 percent). There are 786 community colleges on the list.

Dr. Jack Huck, president of SCC, said that although the College awards more Associate of Applied Science degrees than Associate of Arts or Associate of Science, articulation agreements with four-year schools are critical for students seeking a baccalaureate degree.

 "Each year, dating back many years, more than 90 percent of our graduates have found employment or continued their education," Huck said. "That's a huge selling point for the College. If your goal is to earn a degree and start working, we have programs that will help students reach that goal. If your goal is to transfer credits, whether it is a few or a couple of years' worth, we can ensure your success there also."

According to its website, College Measures focuses on using data to drive improvement in higher education outcomes in the United States. "We have created this partnership because we are deeply concerned about improving higher education in the United States, and we believe that important underlying data is underexposed and underutilized by students, parents, policymakers, and even by institutions themselves."

Huck said a challenge schools face is how to measure student success.

"We are constantly evaluated on improvement across the board," Huck said. "There is a push to increase graduation rates, for getting students to complete on time and for earning degrees, to name a few. How do you define success? Earning an associate degree isn't always the goal of students who enroll at SCC. They want a certain number of classes and transfer those credits to four-year schools. Was that student successful? Absolutely. When they transfer, I know that we helped them accomplish their goal."

The CNNMoney story began, "Not all community colleges are created equal. Figuring out which school will give you the best chance of transferring to a four-year college or university can be difficult, especially since there is so little standardized information out there."

Supplemental stories on community colleges, including "Community college: How to avoid 'dropout factories' " and "6 tips for choosing the best community college" can also be found on the CNNMoney site.

For a complete listing of all schools, go to:


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Stu Osterthun
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