Popularity factor in completion rates

February 15, 2012

By Kendal Kuehler| Ranger Reporter

The most sought-after degrees and programs at Amarillo College are among those with higher completion rates, according to stateuniversity.com. Danita McAnally, chief of planning and advancement, said the popularity of degrees could be a part of the equation.

“If completion rates are based on popularity, then the degrees and programs that are the most known will have higher rates,” McAnally said.

The top five most popular completed degrees and programs at AC are nursing/registered nurse, general studies, business administration, management and general, licensed practical/vocational nurse training and data processing. The completion rates are determined on the frequency of the degree or program.

“We have a great medical program,” said Rudeika Bowen, a nursing major.

“The nursing program is really rigid and competitive,” said Kara Larkan-Skinner, director of institutional research and institutional effectiveness.

Nursing holds the highest completion rate at AC. With students being aware that AC has a great nursing program, Bowen said, the competitiveness of it increases the frequency of students entering the program.

“No, completion rates don’t matter, but the reputation and word-of-mouth of the college does,” Bowen said.

Bowen voiced the concern that if completion rates were too important, some colleges might lower their standards in order to achieve higher rates.

If that were to happen, colleges would be sending people out into the work force that were unsuited.

“Completion rates are very important for individuals and our nation,” McAnally said.

McAnally said she believes completion rates are important for the individuals because it is a continual process. She sees having an associate degree as a steppingstone. It will be recognized and also increases household income.

“The college’s funding comes directly from Texas, which is based on momentum,” McAnally said.

She said completion rates are important from a government standpoint. Because about a third of the college’s funding comes from the state, colleges must reach their standards to maintain funding. Texas’ educational funding is based on the momentum of the college, which is partially determined through completion rates.

The awareness of a degree and program can increase completion rates and, depending on from what standpoint the rates are viewed, determines their importance.

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