Nevada receives poor grades on college completion

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More Nevada students are going to college after high school, but fewer are receiving bachelor's degrees within five years, according to a report released Tuesday.

The National Center For Public Policy and Higher Education compared students' performance in the Measuring Up 2002 to the 2000 report.

Nevada saw an increase in 18- to 24-year-olds enrolling in college, up from 20 percent to 24 percent. However, the top states have 41 percent of the same age group in college, leaving Nevada with a C+.

Only 29 percent of Nevadans completed their bachelor's degrees within five years of finishing high school compared to 66 percent in the top states. Nevada received a second F in the completion category.

Carson High School Principal Glen Adair said the statistics help legislators detect possible flaws in the higher education system, but said results don't paint the entire picture of Nevada education.

The Measuring Up 2002 statistics are based on data gathered in 1998. The 2000 report is based on 1996 data.

"Here's where statistics just don't have much validity when read in the current context," Adair said.

Adair said he suspects the numbers would be different if the studies were actually based on data collected in 2000 and 2002.

In 2000, Nevada lawmakers instituted the Millennium Scholarship, which gives students graduating from Nevada high schools with at least a B average up to $10,000 to attend a college or university in the state.

Adair said the Millennium Scholar program is the best thing he has seen in his 30 years as a high school administrator in Nevada.

"We have a lot of kids in school because of what the state of Nevada is doing," he said. "That was a stroke of genius. It gives hope and inspiration to every kid in this state."

Last year Adair said about 42 percent of Carson City's graduating seniors went on to college and between 45 to 47 percent go on to college annually.

He said the high school does not track the progress of students after graduation.

Data for the Measuring Up study is collected from the National Department of Education.

The study also measures how well students are prepared for college, tracking how many graduate from high school, how many are enrolled in upper-level classes and how well they perform on national proficiency exams in the eighth grade.

Affordability is determined by the percentage of an average family's income it takes to pay for college, reliance on loans and the number of students receiving grants.

It also tracks the benefits afforded to college graduates within the state.

Nevada's Grades

2000 2002

Preparation: D+ D

Participation D+ C+

Affordability B D+

Completion F F

Benefits C- C-


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