Report Highlights Pitt’s Improved Student Success Rates

Fall colors on campus with Herman Simon Building sign in background.

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College administrators heard welcome news regarding the effectiveness of measures the college has taken to improve student success. 

During a Curriculum Review Committee meeting in October, PCC Vice President of Planning and Research Brian Miller presented a report that showed improvement to Pitt’s six-year completion, retention and persistence rates and percentage of students completing at least 24 credits within an academic year. 

“The success documented in the report is a product of PCC’s dedication to student completion,” Pitt President Lawrence Rouse said. “Because we’re grateful for every student who chooses PCC for higher education, our faculty and staff are committed to seeing them finish their academic goals.” 

According to Miller, PCC’s six-year completion rate of 49.57% was its highest-ever and exceeded the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) rate by 7.4%. He said the rate represented the percentage of students who started at Pitt in the fall of 2015 and completed an educational credential at any institution by the fall of 2021. 

Miller said Pitt’s retention rate, a measure of students who continued their PCC enrollment from one fall to the next, was 53.49% for the fall 2019 student cohort, surpassing the NSC rate of 52.94%. 

“This was the first [PCC] cohort to do that in the measured timeframe,” he said, adding that 23.84% of students enrolled at the college in the fall of 2021 earned at least 24 college credits within the 2021-22 academic year. 

Pitt’s persistence rate – the percentage of students who start at Pitt in a fall semester and continue enrollment at any other institution the ensuing fall – has surpassed the NSC rate in three of the six years most recently measured. Miller said that includes PCC’s Fall 2018 (63.08% vs. 62.81%) and Fall 2019 (61.07% vs. 59.35%) cohorts. 

“With the strong transfer ties (PCC) enjoys with East Carolina University and numerous other four-year institutions, this is to be expected,” he said. 

In addition to well-established transfer ties and articulation agreements emphasizing completion of Pitt curricula prior to transfer, Rouse said the improved student success rates could be attributed to many factors. Among the ones he cited were improved academic advising, professional development for employees, and comprehensive student support services, including loaner laptops and expanded in-person and online tutorial services. 

Collectively, PCC academic deans said the college’s adoption of more student-focused policies, like grade forgiveness, had positively impacted student success. They also mentioned increased course availability and delivery options. 

“Whenever possible, PCC offers classes through multiple delivery methods … so students can choose the learning format they prefer,” said PCC Business Division Dean Katherine Clyde. “We also do our best to offer courses at multiple times to accommodate student schedules while keeping in mind many of our students work full- or part-time jobs or are parents.”