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Indiana Moves the Needle on College Completion

Nearly half of all students at Indiana's public four-year college campuses graduate on time. (Pixabay)
Nearly half of all students at Indiana's public four-year college campuses graduate on time. (Pixabay)
July 18, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana is making progress in moving the needle on college completion, according to state education officials.

The 2018 College Completion Report, released this week, reveals an increase of 14 percentage points over the past five years in the number of college students graduating on time, which is now about four in 10.

Teresa Lubbers, a member of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, said it's a record high and a reflection of the efforts of colleges and universities as well as the support of elected leaders.

"Indiana has an attainment goal, which is that 60 percent of our adults would have a quality degree or credential beyond high school," she said. "We know that there is no way to get to that goal without getting more students of color and more first-generation students to access and complete college."

The report shows improvements in college completion rates across all Indiana campus types, with nearly half of all students at public four-year colleges graduating on time. Lubbers said a supplemental report is coming soon, highlighting data on black and Hispanic students, including a double-digit rise in the last five years in the on-time completion rate.

Being able to afford higher education is crucial to ensuring students are prepared and ready to succeed, Lubbers said, adding that the state is working to address the cost of college.

"We actually rank first in the Midwest and fifth in the nation in need-based financial aid," she said. "So, we're making it possible for students to be able to access college. It isn't enough to go to college; the worst of all scenarios is borrowing money, going to college and not completing."

The data also reveal great success with the 21st Century School Program, a financial aid program that puts lower-income students on a pathway to earning a degree. Thirty percent of those scholars graduate on time, compared with 24 percent of other low-income students.

The report is online at

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN