Strengthening the STEM Pipelines:
The Contributions of Small and Mid-Sized Independent College

This is a report by the Council of Independent Colleges. The report authors say the findings suggest that, as a sector, small and mid-sized private institutions perform better than public institutions in students’ persistence and undergraduate degree completion rates in STEM fields and they substantially outperform public nondoctoral institutions.

Small and mid-sized private colleges also perform better on the time-to- degree metric, as an overwhelming proportion (80 percent) of bachelor’s degree recipients in STEM fields earned their degrees in four years or less at these institutions, compared with 34 percent at public four-year nondoctoral institutions and 52 percent at public four-year doctoral institutions, according to the report. 

The report says that study results also suggest that STEM graduates of small and mid-sized private colleges are more likely to plan to attend graduate school and just as likely to enroll immediately in a graduate program as their peers who graduated from larger public universities.