Some encouraging Idaho college statistics

Idaho ended up with a top five ranking in a recent national report — and the results have some encouraging implications for work force development.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center tracked the 536,351 students who received an associate’s degree in 2009-10.

Over the ensuing six years, 41 percent of these graduates parlayed an associate’s degree into a bachelor’s degree. In Idaho, that percentage was even higher.

Of the 2,326 Idahoans who received an associate’s degree in 2009-10, 1,147 received a bachelor’s degree within six years. That 49.3 percent figure ranked No. 4 in the nation.

The report comes as Idaho has ramped up a series of dual-credit programs designed to encourage high school students to acquire college credits — or earn associate’s degrees — before graduating high school. Dual-credit supporters believe the programs will make college more affordable and attractive to high school students, and help improve Idaho’s dismal college go-on rates.

The National Student Clearinghouse, a Herndon, Va.-based nonprofit, says its goal is to “provide educators and policymakers with accurate longitudinal data on student outcomes to enable informed decisionmaking.”