Office of Data Analytics, Institutional Research and Effectiveness (DIRE)
In its Policy on Institutional Obligations for Public Disclosure, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires institutions to publish “statements of its goals for student achievement and the success of students in achieving those goals.” In addition, Section 8 (8.1 Student Achievement) of SACSCOC’s Principles of Accreditation requires institutions to maintain disclosure of this information. Additionally, the College is expected to discuss student achievement findings and efforts during the Fifth-Year Interim Report and the decennial reaffirmation of accreditation.
Student Achievement at Morehouse College
Morehouse College identifies, evaluates, and publishes goals and outcomes for student achievement appropriate to the College’s mission, the nature of the students it serves, and the programs offered. In response to SACSCOC’s August 15,2018, request to member institutions to identify a self-selected undergraduate student completion metric, the College selected IPEDS 4-year (100% standard time to program completion) and 6-year graduation rates (150% standard time to program completion). Graduation rate serves as only one of the College’s three measures to document student achievement. In total, the College has identified the following three measures: retention rates, graduation rates, and post-baccalaureate placement to document student success.
Morehouse is committed to developing men with disciplined minds who lead lives of leadership and service. The 2021-2026 strategic plan elevates this mission by prioritizing goals to ensure the success of its graduates. These goals are organized under four strategic themes, and each of the College’s student achievement measures aligns directly with the institution’s mission and strategic themes.
Table 1 illustrates this alignment, mapping each student achievement measure to the College’s strategic priorities. Additionally, the table outlines the metric used to evaluate success and the established baseline, threshold of acceptability, and target growth.
The College consistently evaluates its Strategic Plan metric attainment and student achievement measures. The Office of Strategy and Planning manages the formal evaluation of the College’s strategic plan. Concurrently, the Office of Data Analytics, Institutional Research and Effectiveness (DIRE) annually monitors efforts toward student achievement through operational planning and publication of the College’s Factbook.
Morehouse monitors first to second-year retention rates to gauge academic program and student service success. The threshold of acceptability for first to second-year retention rates is 75%, the minimum rate reported by the College within an 11-year timeframe. In an effort to reach a target rate of 98% by 2025, Morehouse not only aims to exceed the threshold of acceptability but also aims to exceed the average retention rate for institutions with similar missions (historically Black colleges and universities-HBCU) and peer institutions (private not-for-profit, four years or above).
As summarized in Table 8.1-2 below, the most recently published IPEDS data, 2020-21 (cohort 2019), the College shows positive achievement indicators for the threshold of acceptability and HBCU and peer comparisons. Currently, the College falls twelve percentage points under the target level of achievement.
Over time, Morehouse continues to exceed the average rate for HBCUs and peer institutions, averaging a first to second-year retention rate of 82%. Between IPEDS reporting years 2019 (cohort 2018) and 2020 (cohort 2019), the second-year retention rate increased by three percentage points. Table 8.1-3 and Figure 8.1-1 summarize the College’s first to second-year retention rates compared to all HBCUs and peer institutions’ average first to second-year retention rates.
Morehouse monitors graduation rates to gauge academic program and student service success. When establishing the threshold of acceptability, the College considered an 11-year timeframe. The threshold for four-year graduation rates is 33%, the minimum rate reported for the 2013 cohort. The threshold for six-year graduation rates is 50%, the minimum graduation rate reported for the 2010 cohort. In an effort to reach a target four-year rate of 70% by the year 2022 and a six-year rate of 90% by 2026, Morehouse not only aims to exceed the thresholds of acceptability but also aims to meet or exceed the average graduation rate for institutions with similar missions (historically Black colleges and universities-HBCU) and peer institutions (private not-for-profit, four years or above).
The most recently published IPEDS data, 2020-21 (cohort 2014), shows positive achievement indicators for the thresholds of acceptability and HBCU comparisons. However, cohort 2014 fell three percentage points below the peer four-year average graduation rate. Table 8.1-4 summarizes cohort 2014’s graduation rate achievement. Currently, the College is approximately thirty percentage points under the target level of achievement for both the four-year and six-year graduation rates.
Table 4. 2019-20 (Cohort 2013) graduation rate achievement.
Overall, Morehouse maintains a consistent four-year and six-year graduation rate. In addition, the College continues to exceed the average rate for HBCUs for the past eleven years, averaging a four-year graduation rate of 39% and a six-year graduation rate of 54%. Table 8.1-5,6 and Figure 8.1-2,3 summarizes the College’s graduate rates compared to all HBCUs and peer institutions’ average graduation rates for the indicated cohort.
Graduation Rates by Socioeconomic Status
Morehouse also disaggregates graduation rate data by socioeconomic status (SES) to maximize institutional effectiveness in student achievement. Disaggregating graduation rates by SES provides insight into the impact of Pell recipients on Morehouse’s overall graduation rate and promotes targeted wraparound services for low SES students. The College does not collect household income data for all students; therefore, low SES is determined by whether a student received a Federal Pell Grant during the academic year. To qualify for a Pell Grant, the student must meet certain income requirements in relation to their household size. This method is a common approach used by colleges and universities to measure SES diversity in higher education and examine the impact of poverty on student success.
Table 8.1-7 and Figure 8.1-4 summarize the College’s six-year graduation rates disaggregated by Pell and Stafford Loan status. Morehouse continues efforts to exceed the comparison group median and increase Pell recipient completions. Over the five-year timeframe examined, non-Pell recipients outperformed Pell recipients.
Post Baccalaureate Placment
Morehouse graduates are expected to lead lives of leadership and service. In the Strategic Plan, Theme 1 (Goal #2) sets forth the expectation of providing extraordinary academics that lead to careers of influence. Therefore, the College monitors post-baccalaureate placement rates to gauge academic program and student service success. Annually, the College obtains information on job placement data and graduate and professional school acceptance data from the College’s Senior Exit Survey and the National Student Clearinghouse. Success is measured against the threshold of acceptability established in the Strategic Plan and national placement rates from the most recent National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) First Destination Survey. Table 8.1-8 summarizes the class of 2021-22’s placement achievement.
Table 8.1-9 provides a summary of Morehouse’s graduate post-baccalaureate activity. Unfortunately, the graduate placement rate has declined since 2020. In 2022, 60% of the College’s graduates secured employment or educational opportunities post-graduation. Half of Morehouse graduates reported having an employment opportunity after graduation, and 46% of those are paid full-time opportunities. Not only did more than half of the College’s graduates secure employment opportunities, but 27% of the 2022 graduating class also reported acceptance into a graduate or professional school.
The College continues to work towards advancing student achievement and meeting targets. To that effort, the 2021-2026 strategic plan prioritizes the following initiatives focused on persistence, pacing, performance, and progress:
1. Advance online tutoring (in-house and 3rd party) through Douglass Academic Success Center (DASC);
2. Create the “academic village” (utilize endowed lecture funds to bring intellectual engagement to the campus
outside of the classroom);
3. Adopt the ADISA Model (Appreciative/Developmental/Intrusive Student Advising); and
4. Redesign our financial aid policy and practice to reinforce the goal of retention and persistence.
The College will continue to monitor the impact these initiatives will have on its student achievement measure