The College's historic mission of educating "good men and citizens in an atmosphere of sound learning" culminates in graduates ready to contribute in measurable ways to the social fabric of an increasingly interdependent world. The College's various academic and extra-curricular programs clearly do produce students who are "good men and good citizens" with a progressive twenty-first century liberal arts education.

The College's clearly established measures of student achievement include various widely used retention metrics. Additionally, the College measures adherence to the historic Honor Code on a year-year basis as a measure of student achievement and development. The following goals for Student Achievement order the work of a number of College Units under the direction of the Dean of Faculty’s Office.

Hampden-Sydney College Goals for Student Achievement:

1) Student Success Dynamics (Retention and Graduation Rate)

Rationale: As a measure of student success, the College carefully monitors student retention and graduation rates. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness tracks all students longitudinally and keeps records of each student’s enrollment status from fall to fall every year since 2001. This data is collected using our enrollment management system, Jenzabar, allowing us to also track the date and reason for withdrawal.

Thresholds for Retention Rate: The College has identified a threshold for freshman to sophomore student retention of 81% for a four-year rolling average. This threshold was selected based on an average of private not-for profit institutions in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) freshman to sophomore student retention rate. The College selected this measure since IPEDS data bears the scrutiny of the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), and it is examined locally before submission to offer a greater degree of data validation. The four-year rolling average is utilized in order to account for any one-year anomaly fluctuations.

At Hampden-Sydney, our retention of our all-male first year students has remained strong, averaging  81.0% over the last four years. The most recent IPEDS retention rate of first-time, full-time undergraduate students who return to the same institution the following fall at a 4-year, private nonprofit degree-granting institution (in fall 2017) average for private not-for profit institutions was 81.0%, and for our peer group was 79.5%.

Table 1 - Retention Rate Comparison

H-SC rolling 4yr average

Peer institutions

IPEDS private not-for profit

81.0%

79.5%

81.0%

Thresholds for Graduation Rate: The College has established a threshold of 63% of our student cohorts will graduate within six years of attendance at the College within a for a four-year rolling average. This threshold was selected based on an average of peer institutions in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Graduation Rate (150%) standard time. The College selected this measure since IPEDS data bears the scrutiny of the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), and it is examined locally before submission to offer a greater degree of data validation. As an all-male institution since our inception almost 250 years ago, the College focuses on comparisons to male student graduation rates with our peers and nationally. The four-year rolling average is utilized as IPEDS also uses a four-year rolling average in their graduation rate report. A four-year rolling average will also account for any one-year anomaly fluctuations.

Hampden-Sydney’s graduation rate compared to other male student graduation rates are above average. The most recent IPEDS 6-year graduation rate (150 percent graduation rate) for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year, private nonprofit degree-granting institution (in fall 2011) average for the private not-for-profit group was 66% overall, and 63% for males. The six year graduation rate for our peer group was 63.2% Hampden-Sydney College’s four-year rolling average 6 year graduation rate is 65.7%.

Table 2 – Six-year Graduation Rate Comparison

H-SC rolling 4yr average

Peer institutions

IPEDS private not-for profit

65.7%

63.2%

63%

2) Job and Graduate School Placement Rates

Rationale: The Ferguson Career Center surveys and tracks all graduates longitudinally and keeps records of employment following H-SC graduation. Substantially all of the graduates of Hampden-Sydney College graduate with some debt from student loans and enter into repayment approximately six months following graduation. Thus, the College has established a priority to enable students who do not enter graduate or professional school immediately upon graduation to enter the workforce to begin paying off their student loans to avoid default. The College has been very intentional about establishing an alumni network due to the fact that the college has been in existence for nearly 250 years, is the tenth oldest College in the United States, and has many influential alumni throughout the United States and internationally. Alumni are vitally interested in the success of Hampden-Sydney College graduates and are in regular communication with the Fergusen Career Center seeking interns and permanent employees.

Thresholds: The College has established a threshold of 78% of students in upcoming cohorts that will be gainfully employed within six months of HSC graduation (including military or service positions such as Peace Corps), or pursuing a graduate or professional degree within 18 months of separation from the College. This threshold was selected based on the national trends in the NACE First Destination survey, which recorded  58.7% of students gainfully employed within six months of graduation, and around 19% of students pursuing graduate or professional degrees within 18 months of separation from a baccalaureate degree program, which is 77.7% of students gainfully employed or enrolled in graduate school. During the latest H-SC data collection period (May 2019 graduates), 15.8% of graduates went directly to graduate and professional schools while 66.7% reported that they were employed within six months of graduation graduation (including military or service positions such as Peace Corps). Thus 82.5% were employed or in graduate or professional school.

3) Student Default Rates 

Rationale: The College closely monitors the overall student default rate and chose to tie this measure to the element of the Mission Statement which calls for developing students as "good citizens". The College has maintained a historically low cohort default rate due to the use of endowment funds dedicated largely to scholarship aid. The rationale behind choosing this as a metric to monitor meeting the Mission is multifaceted. Students who pay their loans become active alumni who contribute in many ways to future of the College; they make positive contributions to the social fabric of society; sustain the economy; sustain the economy; are eligible to enter graduate and professional school; support philanthropic causes; and can afford to educate their children and support their families.

Thresholds: The threshold chosen for success is the National Private College Default rate and the College has historically been below that rate for the last three reporting periods. The national threshold for the last three reporting years has been 6.6% (FY2016), 7.1% (FY2015), and 7.4% (FY2014). Hampden-Sydney's cohort default rate has been 6.3% (FY 2016), 3.5% (FY2015), 5.2% (FY2014).