Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cleveland Plus Responds

I'm putting front and center the comment from Cleveland Plus about my post criticizing the Plus College initiative because I think doing so will help advance the policy discussion:

Good day, all:
I think you may be giving Plus College a little too much credit. Northeast Ohio (NEO) already retains a high number of graduates compared to the state’s average. Of course, retention rates vary widely by type of institution and type of degree. For example, for associate degrees, the Ohio Board of Regents March 2008 report shows that NEO community and technical colleges retain graduates between 85-91% and university regional campuses from 80-93% (state average is 88% for both). For bachelor’s degrees, university main campuses in NEO range from 79-83% (state average is 76%). For bachelor’s degrees at private colleges, there is a bigger range in this report: from 37% for Oberlin to 53% for Case to 83% for Ursuline. Most are in the 70%-80% range (state average is 72%).

The Plus College effort simply wants to engage more of the region's 180,000 students in our region so that they have a better understanding of what we have to offer. Some will be too busy, some already know and some won't care, but we think (and our experience shows) given the opportunity many will take advantage of it. It's not intended as a silver bullet for retention.

You'll note the site not only offers "incentives" to influence students to visit our many attractions and events; it also connects them with internship opportunities provided through the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education. As you know, internships can lead to jobs, which is the ultimate form of retention.

Thanks for the opportunity to chime in.
Rick Batyko
Cleveland Plus

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