second objective for CT1 is to make sure we are providing
high quality support to students through our institutional processes, student services and academic experiences.
The average percentage of enrolled students receiving grants and scholarships over the past three years, falling slightly short of our goal (67%). Since 2014, the number of Pell grant recipients, those students having the highest financial need, has declined by 12%. This is likely the result of improving economic conditions and demographic shifts in our student population (younger, slightly more gen-ed/transfer focused). At the same time, the amount of student loans has also declined by 10% due to concerted institutional efforts to improve our students' financial literacy and reduce excessive borrowing. The current three-year average loan of $6,112/student is just over our target ($6,000).
The average rate at which entering students have persisted to the next fall semester since 2014. This is below our target of 60% set back in 2012 during the height of the recession when the average retention rate was hovering at 57%. This presents a challenge area, though it is becoming apparent that our ambitious target may not be sustainable given current economic conditions. We have recently made significant gains in retaining part-time students (+10%), and overall our retention rate remains strong compared to our peers across the state. (Note: the few students who graduate within one year count as retained since we would not expect them to return, though many love us so much they do!)
Degrees and certificates earned by our students on average over the past three years well exceeding our target of 231 (a 5 % increase over the 2012 baseline). Last year Helena College conferred 268 degrees and certificates to students, the highest annual number ever. Currently, about a quarter of the full-time students who enter in the fall semester complete a degree or certificate within three years. While our graduation rate is steadily returning to pre-recession levels, we are still below our target of 30%.
Not dentists, but benchmarks of student engagement as measured by the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE). We have administered this national survey three times since 2011. We have met our target by consistently earning an average or better score on four out of the five benchmarks as compared to the entire survey cohort. Performance has improved in the areas of academic challenge, student-faculty interaction and support for learners. Our results on the new student version of the survey (SENSE) have improved dramatically since the first survey in 2010, and pending the results from last fall, also meet the target of average or better on four of six benchmarks.
As of fall 2016, Helena College achieved the minimum threshold for demonstrating mission fulfillment for this objective, with two out of four indicators meeting or exceeding their targets. (Current score= 2.5; minimum threshold score= 2.4)