Measuring University Performance Series (MUPS)
January 1, 1996
Table of Contents:
The University of Florida series, Measuring University Performance, will continue with the issue of January 1, 1996, focus on student academic profiles. Other issues will take up additional topics reflecting the university's commitment to measuring university performance in quality and productivity of research, teaching, extension, and service.
All of us at the University of Florida welcome comments and suggestions prompted by this series. Please write to the Office of Institutional Planning and Research, PO Box 113115, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-3115 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
One of the special characteristics of the University of Florida, compared to its reference group among AAU public research universities, is the large number of community college students in its undergraduate population. This is the result of the state's policy of encouraging students to pursue their first two years of undergraduate study at community colleges and their upper division work at one of the state's universities. This two + two system gives the university a larger upper division than lower division, the reverse of what occurs in most universities of our type, and a substantial number of students whose first two years of college work took place at a community college. About one-third of UF's community college transfers come from Santa Fe Community College in our county, and the rest come from the other 27 community colleges located throughout the state of Florida. The charts and tables presented here show that the preparation of AA transfers is equivalent to that of students who begin their work at the University of Florida. Students admitted to the high demand upper division programs at UF come in the same proportion from the community colleges and from UF's lower division students and the performance of community college students who transfer to UF is quite similar to that of students who began their college career here. Thus the two + two system works well at the University of Florida.
This chart shows the distribution of undergraduate students. CC transfers include transfer students from community college who came with and without AA degrees. SUS transfers come to UF from other state universities in Florida and the Other Transfers represent out-of-state students, foreign students, and transfers from private colleges and universities in Florida. FTIC is the state term for university students who enroll as freshmen and stands for First-Time-In College.
FTIC and Transfer Undergraduate Students
This strong commitment to community college education makes us very conscious of the quality of the preparation students receive at their community colleges. This preparation appears in various ways. The first involves acceptance into high demand programs at the university. Because the university does not have space for every student who wants to study in every field, some programs have admission criteria that students must meet if they are to be admitted. To ensure fairness, we require exactly the same standards of admission to these high demand upper division programs for students who come to us from community colleges and for students who began their collegiate careers at the University of Florida.
The first chart in this series indicates the distribution of students who apply for admission to upper division at the University of Florida. In this pool of applicants, UF students constitute almost half the applicants with community college students representing about a quarter of the applicants. Other students in this chart include transfers from community colleges who have not yet earned an AA degree and those who come from other public and private universities.
Composition of Pool of Applicants to Upper Division (1994-95)
This chart shows that within this pool of applicants, well over half of the AA transfers and the University of Florida students meet or exceed the admission standards for these high demand programs with special admission criteria. Clearly, then, the preparation of community college AA graduates is equivalent to the preparation of lower division University of Florida students for the purposes of admission to the university's upper division programs. While fewer community college students apply, the percent who meet the standards is the same as for UF students.
Percent of Applicants Meeting or Exceeding Admission Standards (1994-95)
When the process of admission is completed, we can see that the pool of students actually admitted to the upper division reflects the distribution of those who applied, indicating that the quality of those who applied from community colleges and the University of Florida match rather closely and the composition of the admitted students matches the pool of those who applied. This demonstrates that the two + two system works effectively at the University of Florida, providing both community college AA transfers and University of Florida lower division students the same opportunity to participate in high demand University of Florida programs.
Composition of Pool of Students Admitted to Upper Division (1994-95)
Given the quality of the students who attend the University of Florida, whether they come from community colleges or enroll at UF as freshmen, we would expect the performance of these students to be quite similar. And in fact that is the case. These two groups of students are roughly comparable since the UF freshmen have presumably had two years to complete their lower division work and the AA transfers have completed their lower division work before they come to us. So four years for a UF freshman to graduate is equivalent to the AA transfer's two years at a community college for an AA and the two years at UF.
As the following chart shows, the graduation rates of these students are remarkably similar. This chart takes the FTIC students, those who enrolled at UF as freshmen, and measures how many of them graduated after four, five, and six years. The chart then compares this with the percentage of students who came to the University of Florida as AA transfer students, having completed their first two years at a community college, and then graduated after two, three, or four years at UF.
Average Graduation Rate, FTIC 1989-94, AA Transfer 1991-94
Finally, the graduating grade point average for community college AA transfer students is almost exactly the same as for graduating students who enrolled as freshmen at the University of Florida, further demonstrating the high quality of the preparation community college students receive.
Spring 1995 Graduation Grade Point Average: FTIC vs. AA Transfers
Graduation rates can confuse us because they do not tell the complete story of students who come to the university. The standard graduation rate takes the total number of students enrolled as freshmen and then calculates the percentage of these students who have graduated after four, five, or six years. However, this implies that those who do not graduate failed or dropped out of the university. While students surely do have unsatisfactory conclusions to their college careers, it is helpful to look at more than just those who graduated from the university as shown in the table below.