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New College Data Give Fuller Picture Of Graduation Rates — And Show Challenges

Dozens of public universities across the country, including three in Maryland, report that fewer than half of their full-time freshmen in 2007 earned bachelor’s degrees after six years at those schools or after switching to other schools.

That finding emerges from an unusual cache of data posted on a nongovernmental Web site to provide what sponsors call “a more comprehensive and accurate picture” of college outcomes than can be found in federal records. The new data put a rare spotlight on a crucial group: transfer students.

The government tracks graduation rates for first-time, full-time students who finish where they began. But that omits the huge number who hop from school to school. Colleges are now stepping forward to fill in gaps in public knowledge through a site called Student Achievement Measure.