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Higher Education in Maryland

April 2009 Press Release



For immediate release: April 1, 2009                                                           Media Contact: Christopher Falkenhagen

                                                                                                                             Communications: (410) 260-4511



MHEC Student Outcome and Achievement Report (SOAR) Highlights Importance of College Readiness to College Success

ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 1, 2009) - Results from the 2009 Student Outcome and Achievement Report (SOAR) released recently, show that while remediation is still necessary for some freshmen attending Maryland’s colleges and universities, the long-term success rates of many of the students attending these institutions show considerable improvement over time.

SOAR, a study developed by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, measures the first-year college performance of students who graduated from Maryland high schools in 2005-2006 and then enrolled at a Maryland public or independent two- or four-year college or university during the 2006-2007 academic year. SOAR includes statewide, county and institutional remediation rates for math, English, and reading. Separate data for students who did and did not complete a college preparatory curriculum in high school are included in the report.

The major findings of the report included:

• Core students (those who took a college preparatory curriculum in high school) outperformed non-core students in every single category that was examined (math, reading, English, grade point average (GPA) and graduation and transfer rates.

• High school GPA was the best predictor of college performance for all three indicators analyzed (grade in first college math course, grade in first college English course and college GPA after the freshman year)

• Over time, the six-year graduation rate gaps between core and non-core students attending four-year universities have narrowed from seven percentage points to less than one percentage point. This decrease may be attributed to the fact that Maryland’s four-year public and independent institutions have developed and implemented successful retention strategies for students who require remedial assistance upon enrolling.

Also, according to the SOAR study, Maryland is among the top five states in bachelor’s degree production and ranks third in the percentage of its workforce holding advanced bachelor’s or associates degree.

“Maryland is a great place to earn a top-rate college education,” Secretary Lyons said. “I cannot overstate Governor O’Malley’s overwhelming commitment to higher education enough. He has proven to be a national leader when it comes to supporting our colleges and universities.”

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is a 12-member coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and independent colleges and universities and private career schools. It serves as an advocate for more than 325,000 college students in Maryland, for the State and its needs, and for business and industry in Maryland.


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