SACSCOC Reaffirmation

The institution identifies, evaluates, and publishes goals and outcomes for student achievement appropriate to the institution's mission, the nature of the students it serves, and the kinds of programs offered. The institution uses multiple measures to document student success.

The mission of Palm Beach Atlantic University is to prepare students for lifelong learning and leadership by offering excellent undergraduate, graduate and professional programs of study in the Arts, Humanities, Sciences and selected professions. Palm Beach Atlantic University is a private, independent university dedicated to the intentional integration of Christian principles. As a community of learners, the University provides students with a rigorous educational environment that leads to intellectual, spiritual and personal character development.

PBA documents successful student achievement by monitoring broad measures such as student retention, graduation rates, and external measures of student success. During enrollment, students are encouraged to participate in high impact practices including research and internships. Results of these measures are published on the PBA website.

The University monitors outcomes as follows:


Goal #1: Freshman to sophomore student retention will reach 80%. (IO1)


Measurement of Goal #1

The University tracks student success in coursework and persistence in continued re-enrollment. Services and personnel are focused on these efforts. The freshman to sophomore retention goal is 80%. This goal was created in 2020 as part of the University Strategic Plan and is expected to be met by 2026. To support this goal, the University utilizes Waypoint (early alert system) and Developing Christian Leaders (student leadership program) and contracts with Ruffalo Noel­-Levitz for financial aid modeling. The threshold achievement is 70%. Recent retention history can be found in the University Fact Book. The rationale for this goal can be found in the Horizon Group data, the University’s comparison group of peer and aspirant institutions. 

The National Collegiate Retention and Persistence-­to-­Degree Rates study by ACT provides national averages by admissions selectivity and institutional type. These data, compiled annually from the ACT Institutional Data Questionnaire, provide additional justification for this goal. Of the many data points in the study, the following are most applicable to the University:

Table 1 ­ National First-­to-­Second­ Year Retention Rates by Institutional Type

Degree Level/ Control 


Mean (%)  SD*

 MA/MS/MBA/1st Professional Private


73.5%       13.0


Table 4 National First-to-Second Year Retention Rates by Level of Selectivity

 Admissions Selectivity


Mean (%)    SD*



75.3%          8.8

* Institutions whose admissions selectivity is Traditional, have ACT middle 50% scores in 18-24 range. 

Public Disclosure of Goal #1

The University provides retention information to the general public through annual preparation and posting of the Common Data Set Initiative, a collaborative effort among data providers in the higher education community and publishers as represented by the College Board, Peterson's, and U.S. News & World Report. These data are published in numerous surveys. The University and College Accountability Network (U­-CAN) is one of many organizations that display information from the Common Data Set. The U-­CAN site is sponsored by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. There are more than 550 profiles on this site and close to 5 million profile pages have been viewed since the site launch in 2007.

The University also provides retention, graduation, and other data to Student Achievement Measure (SAM). This product utilizes data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center to “… track student movement across postsecondary institutions to provide a more complete picture of undergraduate student progress and completion within the higher education system. SAM is an alternative to the federal graduation rate, which is limited to tracking the completion of first-­time, full-­time students at one institution.” The SAM Project is a joint initiative of the six national higher education presidential associations: the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land­ grant Universities (APLU), and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).

Oversight of Goal #1

The University Retention Committee meets regularly to share efforts and results in improving student success and persistence in enrollment. During the summer months and until enrollment verification in the fall semester, the Vice President for Student Development produces a weekly retention report for use in Cabinet meetings and with the PBA Leadership Group to keep all stakeholders apprised of changes in the groups represented. Following each semester, the Academic and Student Support group meets to review a compilation of data from the separate units providing academic and student support and how services have impacted all student groups, particularly freshmen.  The Provost’s Administrative Council (PAC) receives regular reports on retention and academic support efforts. They also review the course completion reports and discuss courses that produce more D, F, and W grades than others. 

The President, or Cabinet designee, reports regularly to the Board of Trustees on progress to this goal.


Goal #2 Full­-time, first-time, degree/certificate­ seeking undergraduate students seeking a bachelor’s degree will graduate at 65% by 2030 (150% of the normal or expected time for completion). (IO2)


Measurement of Goal #2

The University tracks four-year, six­-year, and eight­-year bachelor’s degree graduation rates as required by IPEDS. In addition to the national report, the University also tracks graduation by PBA School, for non­-traditional student groups, and through the NCAA Graduation Rate and Academic Success Rate report. The graduation goal as measured by IPEDS for the six­-year baccalaureate degree is 65% by 2030. The threshold is 53%. 

In addition, the goal for the four-year baccalaureate degree is 55%. The threshold is 45%. Recent history for graduation rates can be found in the University Fact Book. Rationale for the goal can be found in graduation rate data from the Horizon Group, the University’s comparison group of peer and aspirant institutions. The National Collegiate Retention and Persistence­-to-­Degree Rates study by ACT provides national averages by admissions selectivity and institutional type. These data, compiled annually from the ACT Institutional Data Questionnaire, provide additional justification for this goal. Of the many data points in the study, the following are most applicable to the University:

Table 5 ­ National Persistence­-to-­Degree Rates (6­-Year Graduation) by Institutional Type

Degree Level/ Control 

Mean (%)     SD*

MA/MS/MBA/1st Professional Private 


54.8%          16.4


Table 8 ­ National Persistence­-to-­Degree Rates (6­-Year Graduation) by Level of Selectivity

Admissions Selectivity 


Mean (%)    SD*



55.1%         11.5

*Institutions whose admissions selectivity is Traditional, have ACT middle 50% scores in 18­-24 range.


Public Disclosure of Goal #2

The University provides Student Achievement data for public disclosure on the website. It also provides annually to SACSCOC the newest graduation rate data as part of the Annual Profile. This data matches that in the current year IPEDS Grad Rate Survey. Disaggregated graduation rate data is discussed by various groups on campus including Provost Administrative Council and the President's Cabinet. Disaggregated graduation data from the 2017 cohort has been the topic of discussion at recent Provost Administrative Council meetings.


Ongoing institutional strategies to seek improvement in the achievement of at-risk student populations:



The University created the Bridges program in Fall 2009 to provide a formalized process for academic support and coaching of at-risk students. The 2017-2018 cohort of Bridges was identified during the admissions process as having low standardized test scores and low high school GPAs. Applications of students who scored below the average PBA GPA and Standardized test scores were placed in a conditional bin. The Bridges Director looked through each application and aided in assigning Math and/or English conditions/provisions. Students taking the lowest developmental courses (non-credit bearing) in Math and English became part of the Bridges Cohort.

This cohort arrived early to campus and participate in a 4-day mini orientation, and academic boot camp aimed to acquaint them with the university processes and resources. During the fall and spring semesters, intervention strategies were encouraged for the students to attend. These strategies included: Academic Coaching, Academic workshops, Books and bagels, Workship (volunteer) projects, and social events such as a trip to Disney and the end of the year banquet. In addition to these strategies, one-on-one advising meetings were scheduled for the students to attend and meet with the Bridges Director to help further identify critical areas of assistance unique to each student. 

Waypoint Early Alert 

Since 2012, Waypoint has helped the University identify students who are facing challenges to their success and persistence at the University. Waypoint is an Early Alert System, powered by Pharos360, which enables faculty, staff, student leaders, and friends to identify students who are having difficulties inside or outside the classroom.  Each referral is reviewed and then assigned to a staff member for follow-up. Action steps range from informing students of resources, such as the Writing Center, or scheduling a meeting with a staff person.

Though Waypoint was implemented in 2012, while reviewing data in Spring 2018, it became clear that Waypoint was not being utilized to its full potential. Due to a concerted effort to educate faculty, staff, and students on the purpose of Waypoint and how to use it, the University saw a 206 percent increase in total referrals in 2018-19 from the previous school year. That includes a 124 percent increase in referrals from faculty and staff. Also, 182 students referred their peers, up from zero student referrals the previous year. Pharos Resources recently recognized PBA as its 2019 Lighthouse Award - Institution of the Year winner for the University’s commitment to student success. 

During the 2020-2021 school year, Waypoint was instrumental in assisting University staff in providing care for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This system allowed for successful collaboration and communication among the Health Alert team, Residence Life staff, and other key departments of the PBA community.  

As the institution continues to grow, Waypoint has been an important tool in collaborating across the University to provide care and support for students so that they can retain and persist to graduation.

Students Receiving Benefits from the Veterans Administration  

To be eligible for veterans' educational benefits, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in accordance with Palm Beach Atlantic University standards as explained In the University Catalog. The PBA Veterans School Certifying Official reviews the SAP reports for Veterans and refers students to academic support services as needed for assistance in improving and sustaining academic performance.


Retention Efforts in the Schools:

School of Nursing 

To promote retention of pre-nursing students to nursing students in the program, and to the University as a whole, the School of Nursing (SON) has implemented initiatives to improve retention (freshman to sophomore) and persistence (sophomore to graduation) rates. In the SON this plan includes:

  • Nursing advisors assigned to freshmen pre-nursing students. While initial advisors may be faculty or staff, as of Fall 2019, faculty advisors are assigned to nursing students as early as the freshman or sophomore year to build a closer engagement with the SON.
  • Beginning in fall 2019, students have been assigned to nursing faculty advisors as early as freshman and sophomore years to build a closer engagement with the SON.
  • In Fall 2019, the Admission, Progression, and Graduation Committee became the Admission, Progression, Retention, and Graduation Committee (APRG).  This committee reviews applicants for upper division level courses, but also has implemented several measures to track and facilitate students who are not successful with one or more courses in the program by reviewing the student’s academic history and providing individualized plans for continuing in the program or being dismissed from the program.
  • One example of how the APRG committee enhances retention is through establishing when a prospective upper division level student will need tutoring or a returning student will need a refresher course before returning to clinicals. These decisions give guidance to faculty and advisors based on student performance.  The students and advisors are informed of this at the time of review and acceptance or reacceptance to the upper division level courses.  An example of a refresher course is NUR 3711, a one-hour credit course where students practice clinical skills in the lab and online in simulated skills and case scenarios.  


School of Education & Behavioral Studies (SEBS) 

Admission to the Elementary Education program requires candidates to successfully complete 1st Screening.  Passing the General Knowledge (GK) test is required as part of the 1st screening process. To promote early admission into the Elementary Education program and high retention of teacher candidates, the PBA Department of Education has implemented the following plan:

  • Teacher candidates must take the GK test in the 1st semester of their freshman year.
  • Candidates who are unsuccessful at their 1st attempt work with their advisors to analyze test results for areas of strength and deficiencies.
  • Candidates are then required to take a one-credit course designed specifically to address test-taking strategies and GK content. The course covers all four-content areas of the GK: essay, language, reading, and mathematics, with four weeks designated for each area.  Each fall and spring semester, candidates take the section(s) related to the content area they need to pass.
  • Remediation continues until candidates are successful in passing all areas of the GK. 


School of Ministry 

Faculty in the School of Ministry provide the following interventions: 1) Advising – students receive an advisor in their freshman year; 2) Early Alert - Waypoint early when faculty have concerns about the student; and, 3) Tutoring - Provide tutoring for a number of our courses, especially, the biblical languages. Students identified as at-risk exhibit the following behavior:

  • Poor performance on early assignments in the course
  • Missing classes
  • Failing or poor performance in courses completed
  • Conversations with instructors and advisor


Gregory School of Pharmacy 

The GSOP has 2 processes to identify and support students who are at risk of not progressing toward graduation. 


Promediation allows for early detection of students at risk of failing a course so that actions can be made to facilitate student success in the program.  The first time a student scores ≤65% on any exam (or major assessment) in a course he/she will complete and implement the Promediation Action Plan in consultation with the course coordinator. Although this process is required for every student who scores ≤65% on an exam for the first time in the course, the course coordinator can require participation in this process from all students who failed an exam.  With promediation, students work with the course coordinator to identify challenges to their success and create a plan to address the challenges so that future success in the course can be achieved.   The GSOP promediation policy is beneficial as it identifies students earlier in the semester, thus potentially allowing the student to improve in the course.


The other process that the GSOP has in place is curricular remediation.  Curricular remediation is a student directed prescribed course of study that occurs after course failure.  The purpose is to offer a second chance to demonstrate competency in the course, rather than receive instruction. To be eligible for remediation, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • Only one didactic course failed during the semester
  • Final grade average in failed course is NOT less than 65%
  • The maximum of 3 remediated courses has not been met
  • Student is not on academic or the professionalism honor code (PHC) probation
  • Student demonstrated active participation during the semester a. Active participation in the curriculum is defined as a student who participates in class with regular class attendance, participation in the promediation process and assignments and utilization of available academic resources.
  • Student did not fail the course due to academic dishonesty.

Successful completion of remediation can enable a student to continue in the program with an on-time graduation. 

Oversight of Goal #2

Faculty in individual Schools at the University are aware of and discuss graduation rates on a regular basis. The Provost’s Administrative Council (PAC) receives regular reports on University’s graduation rates and comparison to other institutions via the IPEDS Data Feedback Report. 

The President, or Cabinet designee, reports regularly to the Board of Trustees on progress to this goal.


Goal #3: Students will meet the thresholds established by external organizations for success in licensure or certification requirements. (IO3)


Measurement of Goal #3

Programs at the University prepare their graduates for various external measures of success at or after graduation. These include:


Gregory School of Pharmacy – Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) 

Pharm.D. graduates from the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy must pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) before they can become licensed pharmacists. Such is required by all state boards of pharmacy.

Goal: NAPLEX first time pass rate is within 5% of state and national pass rates.

Rationale for Goal: The state (FL) pass rate for 2020 was 82.6%. The national pass rate for 2020 was 88.43%.

Recent History:  In 2021, 88.9% of the PBA graduates passed NAPLEX the first time they took it. In 2020, 89.39% of the PBA graduates passed NAPLEX the first time they took it.

Threshold: within 5% of the national pass rate


School of Nursing – Bachelor of Nursing (BSN)

The NCLEX-­RN is a national licensure exam required for licensure as an RN in all 50 states. 

Goal: CCNE Accreditation minimum: 80%. PBA minimum goal: 84%. PBA aspirational goal: 95%

Rationale for Goal: The PBA minimum goal is based on the Average National Pass rate. The PBA aspirational goal was established because PBA has always been substantially higher than the National rate.

Recent History: 2021 PBA SON Pass rate 84%; 2020 PBA SON Pass rate 78%

Threshold: equal to or higher than the national pass rate - 2021 National Pass Rate 84%; 2020 National Pass Rate 88%

Although it was apparent that the COVID pandemic impacted the pass rate and the PBA SON pass rate continued to remain above the overall Florida state first-time pass rate of 69%, the SON leadership team did a more comprehensive review and analysis of the exam results leading to strategy planning to correct the identified problems. As shown above, PBA SON pass rate went up 5 points while the National Pass dropped.  The SON continues interventions to prepare 2022 graduates for the NCLEX with a new preparation vendor and faculty supervision.  So far we have promising results with May 2022 class.    


School of Education and Behavioral Studies - Education

School of Education students must pass the Florida Teacher Certification Exam in order to be a certified Florida school teacher. Palm Beach Atlantic Elementary Education students must pass all sections of the Elementary K­6 Subject Area Exam in order to student teach.

Goal: 75% pass rate on first attempt for all four Elementary K­6 Subject Area Exam sections.

Rationale for Goal: The three year (2018-2021) pass rates for the State’s first attempt were: Overall 61%
By subtest: Language Arts 56%, Social Studies 65%, Science 65%, Mathematics 62%.

Recent History: The three-year pass (2018-2021) rates for PBA Elementary Education students' first attempt were:

  • Overall - 64%
  • Language Arts 58%
  • Social Studies 65%
  • Science 72%
  • Mathematics 66%

Threshold: 70%


School of Education and Behavioral Studies - Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduates must continue their professional profession after graduation with the Master of Science degree by documenting 1500 direct client hours while receiving no less than 100 hours of clinical supervision in no less than two years. Graduates have a maximum of five years to obtain the required supervised clinical hours before becoming eligible for Florida licensure.

Goal: Sixty percent (60%) of graduates are engaged in clinical work as either licensed practitioners or as registered interns.  Thirty percent (30%) of graduates attain licensure within five years of graduating.

Rationale for Goal: From 2014-15 to 2018-19, the percent of PBA counseling graduates who were engaged in clinical work as either licensed practitioners or as registered interns in the state of Florida was eighty percent (80%). The average percentage of graduates from 2014-15 to 2018-19 who attained licensure was thirty-nine percent (39%).

Recent History: Of the 358 graduates from 2014-15 through 2018-19, 80% are engaged in clinical work as either licensed practitioners, or as registered interns actively working towards their state licenses. Note that graduates can delay indefinitely registering as an intern and once registered are not eligible for licensure in less than two years and have up to five years to complete their clinical training. On average 28% of graduates are licensed yearly. It is not known, at this time, how many graduates may have sought/obtained a license in other states. Future outcome surveys will more accurately track this data.

Threshold: Approximately 30% of the graduating class should be licensed after five years.

In addition to these program­-specific measures, PBA graduates are tracked for the first year after graduation to determine the percentage of graduates who are working full-time, the average amount of pay, and the percentage of graduates who have been accepted to graduate school. 


Oversight of Goal #3

Discussions about program accreditation and other external standards are common in the Provost’s Advisory Council. Cabinet members are called upon to participate in on-­site accreditation visits, and results of this involvement is reported to the University Board of Trustees.


Goal #4: Average indebtedness for traditional undergraduate students will remain below that for other private, non­profit graduates.  (IO4)


Measurement of Goal #4

Palm Beach Atlantic University students benefit from various methods of education on financial literacy when it comes to borrowing, debt management and repayment of loans. One direct evidence of this is reflected in the University's three-­year cohort default rate (CDR) of 3.3%. The University is ranked 5th for lowest CDR among the 30 Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) schools.

The 2019 Common Data Set report recorded $23,151 in average federal undergraduate student loan debt upon graduation, which is lower than the averages for PBA's peer and aspirant institutions, all Florida schools, and the nation. The average debt of graduating students in Florida's private nonprofit colleges and universities was $30,906 in 2020, a 7.4% decrease from $33,389 in 2019. The total average debt of PBA’s graduating seniors in 2020 was $23,339, a 0.8% increase from $23,151 in 2019. While this is a slight increase, it should be noted that the University is still lower than all Florida schools and the national average.




$ 23,339

 $ 24,454

 $ 29,096


The Financial Aid Office staff are always available to meet with any student, both on campus and virtually, to provide counseling and to answer questions related to loan options, inclusive of repayment options and where to locate their lender(s). The Financial Aid Office staff serve as the primary educational resource in the University’s efforts to educate students on student loan borrowing. Average debt for the University is posted in the following venues:

  • University’s Common Data Set
  • Each student’s Financial Aid Disclosure, available within their financial aid portal

Financial Aid staff connect with First Year Experience instructors in order to schedule financial aid seminars for students in each of the First Year Experience classes and provide a handout. This effort targets all traditional age freshmen and some transfer students, depending on the amount of transfer credit each has. Non­traditional and graduate students, inclusive of students in online programs and at the Orlando instructional site, receive information at Open House meetings held online and in person and, then, from Financial Aid, as needed.

In accordance with federal requirements, the Financial Aid Office assists students in completing both entrance counseling and exit counseling for all students who decide they want to utilize a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan. For our graduating students, the Financial Aid Office hosts group sessions each semester in order to meet with as many students as possible on the topic of loan repayment. PBA also encourages senior student borrowers to complete exit counseling through the use of reminder notices sent via email and posted at various locations around campus.

In order to address students who are in delinquency on repayment of loans, or who are in default, Palm Beach Atlantic University has partnered with the IonTuition Group to assist current and former students. The IonTuition Group is a counseling service that answers questions, as well as assists current and former students with their Federal Student Loans. The IonTuition Group’s goal is to provide quality customer service while helping the student stay informed of the status of their loan, provide alternative repayment options and to promote solutions to every student to avoid default.

Public Disclosure of Goal #4

Average debt is publicly disclosed in a variety of venues including the FAFSA process for prospective and returning students. It is included in the Common Data Set and national surveys such as U.S. News, Peterson's, and College Board.

Oversight of Goal #4

The University Financial Aid Office, under the supervision of the Vice President of Enrollment Management, is responsible for providing information and guidance to help student borrowers understand how to manage their debt and repay their loans in a number of ways.

Updated 9/27/22

Accreditation Statement

To view PBA’s current accreditation statement, please click here.