Mid-Plains Community College ranks in the top five percent in the nation among two-year public colleges in the U.S. and number one among Nebraska community colleges.
That's according to information from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. The top five percent ranking is based on a combination of outcomes referred to as community college success rates.
MPCC has a graduation rate of 48 percent. That, combined with a transfer-out rate of 22 percent and a rate of nine percent still enrolled, equals a total success rate of 79 percent, which is what puts MPCC at the top of the list among the state's community colleges.
All figures are for the cohort that entered the 2015 fall term, as success rates for higher education are most typically assessed at 150 percent of expected time to complete, or for community colleges, the three-year mark.
Dr. Brian Obert, area dean of student life attributes the high rankings to a combination of factors. Those include the recruitment of quality students by the college's enrollment management team as well as increased faculty participation in the retention of students.
An example of the latter is increased instances of faculty notifying student success representatives when they notice students struggling academically. The student success representatives then step in to provide the resources and support students need to overcome any obstacles they may be facing.
Similarly, faculty contact the student life department when they notice students facing challenges not related to academics.
"We continue to improve the MPCC Early Alert system," Obert said. "With the support and feedback of faculty and the expertise of the information technology staff, our early alert process has gone through two phases of updates. We are currently in phase three."
The way the college engages with students living on campus is also in a constant state of evolution. The goal is always to create more contact opportunities between residence life staff and students.
Efforts to actively engage and support military veterans has also been amped up. More focus has been put on making sure veterans' needs are being met along every step of their college journey – from completing financial aid applications and identifying what courses transfer from their years of service to assisting them in any way necessary outside the classroom.
Another aspect that has contributed to MPCC's high rankings is the activeness of its student organizations.
"Our student organization members continue to exert mental effort and physical energy into their educational experience," Obert said. "Whether it is through participating in athletics and campus activities, leading community events or attending national conferences, our students are developing their skills as students and citizens."
An effort has also been made to improve the look and feel of MPCC's campuses, making them more functional as well as attractive to students. The Learning Commons facilities were renovated in both McCook and North Platte last summer – creating a welcoming environment that enhances the services offered.
More information about MPCC and the attributes that set it apart from its peers can be found on the college's website, mpcc.edu.