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WASC Completes Mid-Cycle Review, Commends Cal Poly

The WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) has completed its mid-cycle review of Cal Poly. The review is a federally mandated check of institutional performance, which takes place at the halfway point in the institution’s review cycle.

The review looked at factors related to the WSCUC standards student achievement, enrollment changes, financial indicators, and other institutional information. WSCUC gathered data from Cal Poly’s annual report and from public sources including the recently published Student Achievement webpages.

The commission considered a number of basic data points: four- and six-year graduation rates, enrollment changes, percent of students receiving Pell Grants, median graduate borrower debt, cohort default rates, and the institution’s financial responsibility composite score as determined by the US Department of Education. The commission’s findings are worth citing in full:

Commendation is given for Cal Poly’s 6-year graduation rate, which exceeds the region mean by an 80% to 59% margin. The percentage of students receiving Pell grants is 19% compared to the regional average of 39%. The median borrower debt is significantly below the region average. The cohort default rate is at an impressively low rate of 1.6%, which means students are earning enough upon graduation to pay back loans. A review of Cal Poly’s student achievement section on the institution’s web site meets all of the requirements stated earlier in this letter. In regard to the Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators, the institution should continue efforts to have Course Learning Outcomes cited in course syllabi, which will bolster the uniform approach to having all programs with Learning Outcomes. Program review is taking place on a regular cycle.

There were no “next steps,” since the WSCUC staff did not identify any issues pertaining to Cal Poly’s compliance with the WSCUC standards.

Cal Poly last re-affirmed its WSCUC accreditation in Spring 2012, when it received a ten-year extension. The university will need to re-affirm its accreditation again in 2022.

For this review cycle, Cal Poly has requested that it be considered for the new thematic pathway, a streamlined process that allows the university to demonstrate its compliance with the WSCUC standards while investigating an area of importance to the university.

During AY 2017-18, the office of Academic Programs and Planning will re-establish the WSCUC Steering Committee to review Cal Poly’s progress in completing the action items proposed in the last self-study and to consider possible themes for the next self-study.

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