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Performance Measures Analysis: 2004-05

At the Department of Education, we are working to make sure American taxpayers receive better value for their money by improving federal program performance and increasing efficiency, while reducing waste. These goals go hand-in-hand with promoting increased program flexibility and innovation. To measure performance in the Title III Part A Strengthening Institutions (SIP) Program, which helps postsecondary institutions become self-sufficient and expand educational opportunities to disadvantaged students, the Department has established outcome measures: both results (impact) and efficiency.

This analysis contains statistical information related to program effectiveness of the SIP Program. The program effectiveness measures provide the Department with a consistent approach for measuring key student outcomes for different grantees. The measures are calculated using rigorously reviewed and adjudicated data from the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).


The outcome measures are:

  • Student enrollment–the number of full-time degree-seeking undergraduates enrolling at SIP institutions;
  • Persistence rate–the percentage of full-time undergraduate students who were in their first year of postsecondary enrollment in the previous year and are enrolled in the current year at the same SIP institution;
  • Graduation rate–the percentage of students enrolled at four-year SIP institutions graduating within six years of enrollment and the percentage of students enrolled at two-year SIP institutions graduating within three years of enrollment; and
  • Cost per graduate–federal cost per undergraduate and graduate degree awarded at SIP institutions.


The FY 2004 outcome measures, which are for fiscal year (FY) 2003 individual development continuation (IDC) grantees, are:

  • Fall 2003 enrollment, as reported by the institutions in IPEDS;
  • Persistence rate is the percentage of summer/fall 2002 first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking students who were enrolled in fall 2003 either full- or part-time;
  • Graduation rate of first-time, full-time, degree- or certificate-seeking undergraduate students who began in fall 1997 (4-year institutions) or fall 2000 (less-than-4-year institutions) and graduated by summer 2003; and
  • Cost per graduate based on the FY 2003 grant amount and degrees awarded in school year 2003-04.


The measures are analyzed for IDC grantees with data in IPEDS. The analyses represent 67 percent (218 of 323) of the institutions that received awards in either FY 2003 or 2004. Using only IDC grantees ensures that the projects have been in place for at least a year at the point of outcome measurement. Continuation grants are awarded in years two through five of the up to five-year award period, if the grantee shows substantial progress in meeting its performance objectives. Branch campuses that do not report to IPEDS separately from their main campuses are not included in the analysis since the specific outcome data are unavailable. For grantees receiving continuation awards in both FY 2003 and FY 2004, the statistics show the change in outcome measure performance from one year to the next. The grantees are listed alphabetically by the institution's name.

The outcome measure values are combined with additional data that grantee institutions submit to IPEDS. These results are presented as summary statistics for all of the IDC grantees receiving continuation awards in either FY 2003 or 2004 and summary statistics for all of the IDC grantees receiving continuation awards in both FY 2003 and 2004.


The summary statistics group grantees in ways that facilitate comparison and identify potential areas for further analysis that could result in program improvements. In reviewing these data, it is important to note a few words of caution about the results:

  • Because results reflect only the performance of each year's IDC grantees (excluding new grantees, cooperative grantees and some branch campuses), the results do not reflect the program's total impact. The results represent 59 percent (149 of 257) of FY 2003 grantees and 65 percent (164 of 254) of FY 2004 grantees.
  • Some grantees did not report every performance measure each year. For instance, institutions were not required to report persistence in 2004.
  • The change in grantee performance from one year to the next is impacted by the slate of IDC grantees. Each year, new grantees receive continuation awards and other continuation grantees complete or close their grant. For this reason, grantees funded in both years provide the most consistent comparison group for cross-year analyses.
  • Effects on outcome measures may be limited in any given year for two reasons: (1) each grantee implements specific activities such as faculty exchanges or new academic programs that are not necessarily aimed at overall institution improvement and (2) SIP Grants account for less than one percent, on average (0.07 to 7 percent individually), of the institutions' core revenues. In FY 2004, SIP IDC Grants totaled $56,880,103 and core revenues at those same institutions were $7,706,041,560 (as reported in IPEDS).

Keeping this in mind, grantees are encouraged to compare their performance results to those of other grantees with similar characteristics.

Overall from FY 2004 to FY 2005, the SIP program cost per graduate decreased, as desired. Enrollment increased, widening access to postsecondary education. The graduation rate also increased to a small extent. Unfortunately, the persistence rate decreased.

There appears to be a correlation between performance and enrollment size and degree of urbanization in the surrounding community. On average, the persistence rate increases as the institution's enrollment size increases. Likewise, the cost per graduate decreases as the institution's enrollment size increases. At two-year schools, the cost per graduate decreases as the school community becomes more urban in character.


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Last Modified: 03/09/2011