Ranking shines light on Riverland

Published 9:42 am Friday, June 22, 2012

Riverland Community College tied for seventh-place among community colleges in Minnesota based on new success ratings.

CNNMoney released a report ranking community colleges earlier in June. The website www.collegemeasures.org compiled data from the U.S. Department of Education that compiled “success ratings,” which rates how many students graduate or transfer to another university in three years.

Riverland’s success rate is 58 percent, which makes it tied for seventh-place among the 25 Minnesota community colleges that were ranked. Scott Williams, dean of Riverland’s campus in Albert Lea and dean of academic affairs, said while he was glad to see Riverland’s rankings compared to other colleges that it’s important to take this “success rating” with a grain of salt.

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“You’ve got to realize in a comprehensive college setting that we have very diverse programs and student circumstances are different,” Williams said.

He gave the example of a full-time student who after one year in the program gets hired and then takes longer to finish school on a part-time basis. If the goal is employment, then the school was successful with that student, even though that example would hurt the “success rating.”

Williams said this way of looking at data is just one of many ratings and studies the college looks at. Riverland was ranked 64th out of the 790 colleges in the nation on the list. There are more than 1,200 community colleges in the nation but school with less than 200 incoming freshmen were not included in the ranking.