Methodology

This year there are 5 categories included in the Report Card.  The 5 categories are Student Outcomes, Community Supports, Academic Engagement, Financial Management, and Intervention.  Each category is weighed equally making them worth 20% of the final score.

The measures are based on ScholarShot “Best Practices,” derived from our 90+% degree completion rate working with FGLI students, extensive research in the field, and collaboration with higher education partners.  These measures grasp a majority of the supports that universities should use to support their FGLI students.  The first category of Student Outcomes is quantitative based on the performance for universities’ FGLI students through and post-graduation.  The remaining categories are qualitative based on the survey completed by each university.

Based on discussions with higher education partners, we chose to only publish the Report Card with universities who achieved an A or B final score.  Our goal is to highlight the positive ways that universities engage FGLI students and still motivate all to improve their practices and outcomes.  Individual reviews are offered to all universities that participated in the survey and they are encouraged to use this opportunity to create better outcomes for their students.  As with similar surveys, we chose to curve our scores.

 

Categories

The Student Outcomes category is quantitative, using measures solely from the Department of Education.  These range from cost of attendance to post-graduation employment rates, but ultimately all measure how well FGLI students fare after graduating from the universities. 

The remainder of the categories are qualitative measures surveyed directly from the universities.  While there is a margin of error on the accuracy of the universities self-reporting, ScholarShot found no abnormalities or questionable responses and believes the universities answered the survey questions accurately.

Each category contains the measures that are most relevant to that category.  Below you can see how the categories and measures are organized and how we define each measure:

Graduate Outcomes

Loan Repayment Rate The percentage of first-generation students who are on track to pay off their loans 5 years after completing
Median Debt The median debt for students who have completed
Total Cost The total price for in-state students (average of on and off campus living)
Graduation The percentage of first-generation students who completed within 6 years at their original institution
Median Earnings The median earnings of students working and not enrolled 10 years after entry

Community Supports

Summer Bridge Program

Whether the school has a summer bridge program, the cost for students, and how many FGLI students can participate

Living-Learning Community

Whether the school has FGLI and/or racial/ethnic based living-learning communities that support the students both academically and socially

Text Message Communication

Does the school utilize text message communication to alert parents and students about important information

Mentor Program

Does the school have a mentor program for FGLI students and the percent of freshman being mentored

Academic Engagement

Students per Academic Advisor

Ratio of students per academic advisor at each university

Early Alert System

Whether the school has a university-wide Early Alert System that automatically alerts student and advisor when there is a problem with the student’s alert factors i.e. failed test, unpaid tuition, etc.

Response to Early Alert

Whether the advisor, student, or both are required to respond to early alerts and how they are required to respond

Time Limit for Professors

Do the universities have a mandatory time limit in place for professors to return grades and if so, what is that time limit

Financial Management

Debt/Financial Education

Whether universities have a debt/financial educational program and whether it is required for all students

Meet with Financial Aid

Whether all students, students taking out loans, or no students are required to meet with a financial aid advisor

Emergency Funding

Do the universities have non-loan emergency funding available for students due to a temporary or unexpected hardship and what percentage of requests are accepted

Financial Gap

Do the schools track and analyze each incoming student’s financial gap and if so, what is the average annual financial gap

Student Services and Interventions

Probation Interventions

Does the university have a universal response when a student is placed on probation and if so, what is that response

Dropouts in Good Academic Standing

Do the universities track students who drop out but are in good academic standing and if so, what percent of students dropping out are in good academic standing

Mental Health to Student Ratio

The number of undergraduate students per mental health professional at the university

Mental Health Visits

How many visits, on average, a student makes to on-campus mental health services before being referred to an outside provider

Comparing Other University Reporting Methods

There are numerous organizations that also report on how colleges compare to one another, most notably the US News and World Report and the Chetty Report on student economic mobility.  These reports collect a range of historical data to come up with their rankings.  The Texas Public University Report Card has some similarity in that our Graduate Outcomes category (20% of the total grade) uses historical data on university performance.  The other four categories, however, (Community Supports, Academic Engagement, Financial Management, and Interventions) are unique from other reports because they come directly from our experiences working with FGLI students at ScholarShot.  The data for these qualitative categories was acquired through a survey completed by the participating universities.  These categories and the measures within them, assess practices and policies at each university that directly affect FGLI students and their chance5/ to succeed, or not.  Measuring success at the universities in these categories makes our report distinctive from all other reports.  See our Best Practices section for more discussion of these measures.

 

University Participation

During our research, we requested that all 38 public university campuses in Texas participate in our survey.  For various reasons, only 16 were able to participate this year.

We are grateful for each of these universities’ willingness to participate and help create a better future for all students in Texas.  We are disappointed, however, that more universities did not choose to participate.  This is an opportunity for growth and sharing best practices for the universities and it would benefit all schools to contribute.

The schools that did not participate will have the opportunity to participate in future years so that Texas students, parents, and high school counselors can have the opportunity to see what they have to offer FGLI students.