Enhance the Quality of and Access to Postsecondary
and Adult Education | Performance Goals
Postsecondary Enrollment [PDF, 1.7MB]
The Department's programs have contributed to significant improvements in postsecondary access. As of 2003, the overall college-going rate for high school graduates stood at 63.9 percent, with more than 16 million students enrolled at degree-granting postsecondary institutions. Furthermore, college enrollment figures for TRIO Talent Search, a program designed to support the college enrollment of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, surpass the national average for all high school graduates.
Postsecondary Persistence and Completion [PDF, 1.7MB]
The Department provides services to ensure that increasing numbers of Americans gain access to a postsecondary education, persist in school, and complete their college education. Successful completion of postsecondary education increases future employability and wages. The most recent data available for persistence and completion rates for students in the aggregate and for students from disadvantaged backgrounds show general trends of improvement.
Student Financial Assistance Award Accuracy [PDF, 1.7MB]
One of the key determinants for ensuring access, persistence, and completion in postsecondary institutions has been the extensive support of financial aid to low- and middle-income students. The Department administers more than $400 billion in direct loans, guaranteed loans, and grants to postsecondary students and their families. Recent achievements include the removal of student financial assistance programs from the Government Accountability Office's high-risk list in January 2005 and a declining Pell Grant overpayment rate.
The Department's institutional aid programs strengthen and improve the quality of programs in hundreds of postsecondary education institutions that serve low-income and minority students, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Historically Black Graduate Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions. By expanding and enhancing academic quality, institutional management, and financial stability at these institutions, the Department reduces gaps in college access and completion among differing student populations, improves academic attainment, and strengthens accountability.
Vocational Rehabilitation [PDF, 1.7MB]
Over the past year, the Department has made significant progress in improving the timeliness of its vocational rehabilitation data. The FY 2004 Case Service Report database was completed within five months of the close of the fiscal year, a 10-month improvement compared to FY 2002 and prior years. Reviews of state performance data to correct problems and improve services to customers have also been completed more promptly in FY 2005 than in prior years.
The Department measures state vocational rehabilitation agencies' progress by monitoring the percentage of individuals receiving services who achieve employment. In FY 2004, about two-thirds of state vocational rehabilitation agencies achieved the outcome criteria set by regulatory indicators.
Adult Learning [PDF, 1.7MB]
In an age of rapid economic and technological change, lifelong learning can provide benefits for individuals and for society as a whole. New data on adult learners this year show steady increases in the success rates of adults in meeting high school completion goals and in English literacy acquisition.
Expanding Global Perspectives [PDF, 1.7MB]
The Department's international education and graduate fellowship programs have helped thousands of students, particularly at the graduate level, prepare for careers in areas of national need, including foreign languages and area studies. Departmental support for foreign languages, area studies, and international studies at American colleges and universities ensures a steady supply of graduates with expertise in less-commonly taught languages, geographic areas, and international issues. The Department measures progress by the expansion of critical languages taught at National Resource Centers, employment of center Ph.D. graduates in targeted areas, and improved language competency. FY 2005 was the first year in which targets were set for these measures.