CNM Reaches 2020 Goal of 24 Percent Graduation Rate Three Years Early

August 30, 2017 -- One of CNM’s Strategic Direction Goals to achieve by 2020 – increasing the college’s official graduation rate to 24 percent – was achieved this year.
CNM Reaches 2020 Goal of 24 Percent Graduation Rate Three Years Early

Aug 30, 2017

Official graduation rates for colleges and universities, which are determined by U.S. Department of Education guidelines, are a high-profile metric that are reported nationally and appear frequently on Internet searches and the popular College Scorecard site. It’s also one of CNM’s Key Performance Indicators.

The rate is determined by the percentage of first-time, full-time, degree-seeking (FTFTDS) students who graduate within 150 percent of the prescribed time it should take a full-time student to complete a certificate or degree program. All associate degrees are allowed three years to meet the 150 percent requirement.

A CNM Strategic Direction Team focused on the graduation rate initiative has been implementing efforts to help more students graduate on time, which also lowers the student cost of a degree or certificate and reduces the need for student loans.

With the completion of the 2017 Summer Term, the graduation rate for the cohort of FTFTDS students who began in the 2014 Fall Term is now official. This group of students earned a 24 percent graduation rate, meeting the college’s 2020 goal while also improving by 8 percent from the previous 2013 Cohort. The graduation rate has been going up steadily over the last several years:

  • 2014 cohort – 24 percent
  • 2013 cohort – 16 percent
  • 2012 cohort – 16 percent
  • 2011 cohort – 14 percent
  • 2010 cohort – 11 percent

“This is great news,” said CNM Vice President for Student Services Phillip Bustos, a member of the Strategic Direction Team focused on improving the graduation rate. “Our team members, as well as employees around the college, did a fantastic job of providing this cohort of students with the support they needed to graduate at a record rate for CNM. We’re going to keep aiming higher – for 30 percent, 35 percent, 40 percent and beyond.”

The average graduation rate for community colleges is 20 percent.

The successful efforts that have been implemented for first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students will also be expanded to the greater student body.

In addition to the recently concluded 2014 Fall Cohort, CNM is currently monitoring and supporting cohorts that began in fall 2015 and fall 2016. Here are some of the efforts that have taken place so far to support first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students and their journey to graduation:

  • Students are being encouraged to meet with an Academic Coach to set up an academic plan in Degree Works.
  • CNM is using texts, phone calls and emails to reach out and support students in these cohorts.
  • CNM Contact Center is reaching out to students in the cohorts who have not graduated and are not registered for classes for the next term.
  • Students have been offered a $200 incentive award to meet progress goals.
  • FTFTDS students were put on “monitored” status in the “Faculty Feedback” alert system.

Here are more efforts that are being implemented:

  • Consider financial aid policies for these students and determine which scholarship programs are most successful in retaining and graduating students.
  • Academic Affairs is working on efforts to support FTFTDS success in their academic programs.
  • Evaluate fall-to-spring and fall-to-fall retention rates to ensure cohort students are on track to graduate in 150 percent of prescribed time to graduation.
  • Research how reverse transfer data can be mined and included in graduation rates.
  • Implement two-way texting and additional coaching for FTFTDS students.
  • The Time to Degree and Academic Plan Strategic Direction Teams merged to align efforts of these two teams.

For more information, visit the Strategic Direction Time to Degree SharePoint site at