Benchmarks: WICHE Region 2016

  • Title slide for Benchmarks, WICHE Region 2016
  • Based on the most recent available data, for 2010, 26 out of 100 ninth graders in the West do not finish high school and an additional 31 do not go on to college. Only 19 graduate on time from college. Nationally, about 27 out of 100 ninth graders do not finish high school and 28 more do not go on to college. About 22 graduate on time from college.
  • The Western region consistently surpasses the U.S. on the enrollment of adult students as undergraduates as a percent of the total adult population. After recent upticks presumably related to the recessionary economy, the U.S. ratio was down in 2013, while it continued to increase slightly in the West.
  • In the West, successfully progressing from ninth grade to high school graduation varies starkly by race/ethnicity. The most recent data shows progress over time for each race/ethnicity, but most notably for Hispanic students. But, disparities remain for American Indian/Alaska Native, Black non-Hispanic and Hispanic students.
  • The West in 2014 enrolled higher proportions of students of Asian/Pacific Islander, White non-Hispanic, Black non-Hispanic, and Hispanic than their proportional share of the general population. The West improved its enrollment rate among Hispanics and Blacks over 2004, but enrollment proportions for American Indians/Alaska Natives declined.
  • In 2014-15, the West awarded proportionately fewer bachelor’s degrees to students from Black non-Hispanic, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native backgrounds, as compared to each group’s share of the general population. The West improved the most among Hispanics when comparing to bachelor’s completion in 2004, whereas completion rates declined among American Indians/Alaska Natives.
  • Poverty rates among youth approaching traditional college age in the West were slightly lower than the  nation in 2014. But, the West lagged the nation in the share of Pell recipients among undergraduates during the corresponding academic year. These ratios and Figure 11 attempt to measure access and affordability for low-income populations, albeit imperfectly due to data limitations (some data initiatives underway may  provide better data in future years). Regardless, the nation and the West will struggle
  • In the past decade, the average tuition and fees published price at public four-year institutions in the West has increased 86%, and 60% at public two-year colleges. Increases in the last several years are moderate compared to prior years but continue to trend upward.
  • The ratio of household income to average published tuition and fees at public institutions has increased dramatically over the past decade at all institutional types.
  • The amount of total grant financial aid per FTE in the region’s public institutions increased almost 50% between 2007-08 and 2010-11, but fell back slightly (6%) from 2011-12 to 2013-14.
  • In the West, state need-based grant aid to undergraduates per FTE increased about 10% between academic years 2013-14 and 2014-15. Grant aid per FTE in the West was up 60% over five years prior, compared to a 25% increase for the U.S. over that period.
  • The share of the full-time entering cohort of students in the West receiving federal financial aid (mainly Pell grants) climbed dramatically during the recession years through 2010-11, and has decreased slightly in the years since.
  • Savings to families and/or students through participation in WICHE’s Western Under­graduate Exchange (WUE) program have grown substantially in the last several years.
  • State appropriations per FTE in the region showed an increase of 5% in FY 2015 over the previous year, and by FY 2015 they had returned to about 90% of pre-recession levels.
  • Net tuition and fees in the West accounted for 41% of total revenue from appropriations and tuition and fees per FTE in FY 2015, compared to 30% in FY 2008.
  • The West’s regional average state tax revenue per capita, adjusted for inflation, remains well above the national rate and has returned to around pre-recession levels for most Western states.
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Benchmarks: WICHE Region 2016 presents information on the West’s progress in improving access to, success in, and financing of higher education. The information is updated annually with the most recent data available, to monitor change over time and encourage its use as a tool for informed discussion in policy and education communities.