SACSCOC Reaffirmation

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.

The University monitors outcomes as follows:

  • Institutional Outcome 1 Students will persist in enrollment at the University.
  • Institutional Outcome 2 Students will persist in enrollment to appropriate six-­year graduation rates.
  • Institutional Outcome 3 Students will prepare for future advancement in their chosen vocational areas.
  • Institutional Outcome 4 Students will manage their student loan debt successfully.

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

Measurement

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 2012 and is expected to be met by 2022. During this time the University has added Waypoint (early alert system) and Developing Christian Leaders (student leadership program) as well as contracting with Ruffalo Noel­-Levitz for financial aid modeling. The benchmark expectation is 70%. Recent retention history can be found in the 2018­-2019 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 

N

Mean (%)  SD*

 MA/MS/MBA/1st Professional Private

411

73.4%       13.2

 

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

 Admissions Selectivity

N

Mean (%)    SD*

 Traditional*

122

75.4%          8.3

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

Public Disclosure

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.

Oversight

The University Retention Committee meets regularly to share efforts and results in improving student success and persistence in enrollment.

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 University’s Enrollment Committee reviews cohort retention in planning for subsequent years’ retention.

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.

During the summer months and until enrollment verification in the fall semester, the Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness produces a weekly retention report for the Dean of Students to use in Cabinet meetings and with the PBA Leadership Group to keep all stakeholders apprised of changes in the groups represented.

The President reports regularly to the Board of Trustees on progress to this goal. In September he provides data charts in a presentation. In September, December, and April the Board receives the Trustee Dashboard on which retention is highlighted.

Goal #2 Full­-time, first-time, degree/certificate­ seeking undergraduate students seeking a bachelor’s degree will graduate at 60% in six years (150% of the normal or expected time for completion). (IO2)

Measurement

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 60%. The benchmark is 50%. Recent history for graduation rates can be found in the 2018-2019 Fact Book.

Rationale for the 60% 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 

298

54.8%          16.4

 

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

Admissions Selectivity 

N

Mean (%)    SD*

Traditional*

105

55.2%         11.7

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

Through the Independent Colleges and Universities in Florida (ICUF) and Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program (FETPIP), the University is able to receive annual reports on graduation cohort groups that include quarterly earnings.

Public Disclosure

The University also provides graduation 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).

A final way in which the University communicates graduation successes to the general public is through Standout Sailfish, a digital repository and Q&A of recent graduates and their accomplishments.

Oversight

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 reports regularly to the Board of Trustees on progress to this goal. In September he provides data charts in a presentation. In September, December, and April the Board receives the Trustee Dashboard on which graduation rate is highlighted.

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

Measurement

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 NAPLEX before they can become licensed pharmacists. Such is required by all state boards of pharmacy.

Goal: 87.5% pass rate on NAPLEX the first time it is taken. NAPLEX first time pass rate is within 5% of state and national pass rates.

Rationale for Goal: The average state (FL) pass rate was 82.13% in 2016, 83.78% in 2017, 85.50% in 2018, and 81.34% in 2019. The national average was 85.86% in 2016, 87.95% in 2017, 89.46% in 2018, and 88.34% in 2019.

Recent History: In 2018, 83.33% of PBA graduates passed NAPLEX the first time they took it. In 2019, 72.58% of the PBA graduates passed NAPLEX the first time they took it.

Benchmark: 85% (within %% 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: 85%. 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: PBA has been seeing gradual increases each year: 2015 class = 90%; 2016 class = 93%; 2017 class = 94%. Class of 2018 met the aspirational goal with a 95% pass rate. Class of 2019 met the benchmark with 88% pass rate.

Benchmark: 85%

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 average (2017-2020) for all of Florida’s aspiring teachers on first attempt was: 64% overall.

By subtest: Language Arts 57%, Social Studies 66%, Science 67%, Mathematics 58%.

Recent History:  The three-year average (2017-2020) for PBA Elementary Education students' first attempt was: 72% overall.

By subtest: Language Arts 70%, Social Studies 67%, Science 77%, Mathematics 72%.

Benchmark: 70%

School of Education and Behavioral Studies - Mental Health Counseling; Marriage, Couple, Family Counseling

Mental Health Counseling graduates, and Marriage, Couple, Family 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: The average percentage of graduates from 2010 to 2015 engaged in clinical work as either licensed practitioners or as registered interns in the state of Florida was sixty-nine percent (69%). The average percentage of graduates from 2010 to 2015 who attained licensure was thirty­-two percent (32%).

Recent History: Of the 440 graduates from 2010 through 2015, 69% are engaged in clinical work as either licensed practitioners, or as registered interns actively working towards their state license. 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 32% of graduates are licensed yearly.

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

School of Education and Behavioral Studies - School Counseling

School Counseling students must pass the Guidance & Counseling Florida Teacher Certification Exam in order to be a certified school counselor in a Florida public school.

Goal: 80% pass rate

Rationale for Goal: The average Florida state pass rate on the Guidance & Counseling exam was 80% from December 2012 through December 2017.

Recent History: Out of 59 graduates, 2 students relocated out-­of-­state and 14 students either did not apply for certification, changed their career path, or obtained employment in a setting not requiring state certification. Comparison with FL state pass rates results in 43 out of 59 graduates successfully obtaining certification in Guidance and Counseling from the Florida Department of Education. Therefore, from December 2012 through December 2017, the pass rate for PBA School Counseling graduates was 73%.

Benchmark: 70% pass rate

In addition to these program­-specific measures, the University contracts with GradLeaders to participate in The Outcomes Survey, an online tool for gathering employment and graduate school admissions data from new college graduates. Students respond to the questions before they graduate and then three months, six months, and one year following graduation. Graduates are surveyed in regards to engagement in career exploration, experiential education’s role in securing their first-­destination occupation, and motivation for pursuing a college degree and occupation.

Oversight

The University convenes an Accreditation Council at least once per year to discuss common concerns about program accreditation and to share lessons learned that may help other groups.

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 undergraduate students will remain below that for other private, non­profit graduates.  (IO4)

Measurement

PBA students benefit from a strong financial literacy program as reflected in the University's three-­year cohort default rate (CDR) of 3.3%. Likewise, PBA is ranked 5th for lowest CDR among the 30 Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) schools. In addition, 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. These are direct evidences that students are effectively educated regarding borrowing and managing debt and repayment of loans.

Average debt levels for all graduating seniors in the United States with student loans fell to $28,950 in 2019, a <1% decrease from $29,200 in 2018.

  • Public colleges – average debt of $27,539 in 2019, a 0.9% increase from $27,291 in 2016.
  • Private nonprofit colleges – average debt of $33,389 in 2019, a 4.7% increase from $31,818 in 2016.
  • PBA 2019 Graduating Seniors ­­ average debt $23,151, a 3.9% decrease from $24,086 in 2016.

Public Disclosure

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

The University Financial Aid Office, under the supervision of the Senior Vice President for Finance & Administration/CFO, 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.

The University requires both entrance counseling and exit counseling for all students who decide they want to utilize a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan. Entrance counseling, exit counseling, and the Master Promissory Note are completed at www.studentloans.gov or during a group session. 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.

Palm Beach Atlantic University has partnered with the i3 Group to assist current and former students. The i3 Group is a counseling service that will answer questions as well as assist current and former students with their Federal Student Loans.  The i3 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.

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 onground and, then, from Financial Aid as needed.

The Financial Aid staff are always available to meet with any student on campus to provide counseling and to answer questions related to aid. In addition, the PBA intranet, myPBA, contains pertinent information and links for student use.

For additional information, contact Carolanne M. Brown, Assistant Provost for Accreditation and Assessment/SACSCOC Liaison at carolanne_brown@pba.edu.

Updated 12/11/20

Accreditation Statement

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