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Policy and Report Library > Reports > 2008 Performance Measurement Report

Technical Guide: Community College Reports

Unless otherwise specified, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education is the source of the institutional data and information presented in this report.

Access Indicators
Affordability Indicators
Student Success and Academic Quality Indicators
Fiscal Effectiveness and Efficiency Indicators

Section I: Access to Public Higher Education in Massachusetts

Access Indicators

Fall Enrollment Headcount

Fall Headcount is used as a measure of student population at the traditional peak entry time.

Fall Enrollment FTE

Fall Full-Time Equivalency (FTE) indicates the mix of full-time and part-time students at the institution’s peak entry time.

Annual Enrollment Headcount

Annual Headcount reflects the population of students in all terms throughout the academic year.

Annual Enrollment FTE

Annual Full-Time Equivalency (FTE) indicates the mix of full-time and part-time students who are enrolled at any point throughout the year.

Minority Enrollment

Minority Headcount Enrollment is compared with the minority composition of the institutions service region. These areas are defined by the cities and towns where the first 80 percent of an institution’s student population resides. The minority composition of the college is also compared with the minority composition of the geographic region in which the institution resides. These regions were identified and labeled by the Massachusetts Department of Economic Development.

Section II: Affordability of Massachusetts Community Colleges

Affordability Indicator

% of Median Family Income

This indicator measures full-time tuition and mandatory fees as a percentage of median family income, as sourced from the US Census Bureau American Community Survey 2007.

Section III: Student Success and Academic Quality

Success and Quality Indicators

First-Year Persistence Rates

This measure shows the percent of first-time, full-time new freshmen who return to the same institution in the fall following their first year. It also shows the percent of first-time, full-time new freshmen who return to any postsecondary institution in the fall following their first year. This includes students enrolling at private or public institutions in Massachusetts and students enrolling in out-of-state institutions.

Community College Student Success Indicator: Fall 2003 Cohort Four-Year Success Rate

Overview: This is the first time that this student success indicator is being incorporated into Performance Measurement. This indicator measures students who have earned a degree/certificate, transferred to another institution, earned 30 or more credits, or are still enrolled after four years. Although a four-year rate is currently presented, the intent is to track this outcome measure over 4, 5, and 6 years for this and successive cohorts.

Cohort: New students who entered community college in fall 2003 and who attempted at least 18 credits within two years of initial enrollment and did not enroll in ESL.

Fall-to-Spring Retention Rate

This measure shows the percent of first-time and transfer degree-seeking students enrolled in a fall term (not enrolled in any ESL coursework) who earn nine or more credits by the end of the fall term and reenroll in credit courses the subsequent spring semester.

Credit Course Completion Rate

The percent of students enrolled in credit courses that attempted to earn credit and successfully completed the course and earned the credit(s).

Degrees Conferred

This measure includes all degrees and certificates that are conferred during the fiscal year.

Pass Rate for the National Nursing Licensure Examination

Passing the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) is required to become a registered nurse. We measure pass rates on this exam for first-time test-takers, as an indication of academic quality and learning outcomes (the inclusion of repeat test takers would increase the annual pass rate). The source for this indicator is the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing. National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Enrollment in Workforce Development Courses

The provision of non-credit workforce development instruction is one way community colleges serve an important economic development role in their community.

Section IV: Effective and Efficient Use of Resources

Effectiveness and Efficiency Indicators

Efficiency and Innovation

Projects and initiatives that result in cost savings and regional collaborations that result in more efficient use of system resources. Examples must be based on quantifiable results, not aspirations.

Resource Allocation

Utilizing IPEDS expenditure data, we measure the spending per student in each of five key expenditure areas. Spending for peer institutions is provided as a comparison. We also included estimated spending using budget formula requirements, which provides a measure of true fiscal need at the colleges.


All Massachusetts public colleges are required to undergo an independent annual audit of their fiscal practices. A positive audit has an unqualified opinion and no material weaknesses.

Financial Health Indicator

The Fiscal Health Indicator provides a graphic depiction of the Primary Reserve Ratio, which measures Unrestricted Reserves vs. Total Operating Expenses. This ratio is a measure of how long an entity could continue operations using only reserves, if all other revenues stopped. KPMG has recommended a target ratio of 40%. The source for this indicator is FY08 Audited Financial Statements.