Student Achievement

Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) evaluates student achievement consistent with its mission, which is to provide an outstanding education for a diverse group of talented and highly motivated students from various ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographical backgrounds. The first goal in the University’s Strategic Plan expresses the institutional focus and commitment to student achievement:


Johnson C. Smith University set a goal for the academic year 2020-21 of seventy-five percent (75%) for first-year fall-to-fall retention. This was above the institutional average for the three previous years at JCSU (68%), and it was above the benchmark IPEDS comparison group’s three-year average (68%) of the same period and represented the University’s commitment to its aspiration for student success and retention. Because of purposeful institutional efforts, including changes to advising and strategic gap funding remedies, progress was made toward an increased retention rate.

  2020-21 Three-Year Average 2019-20 2018-19 2017-18
Johnson C. Smith University 65 68 66 69 69
IPEDS Comparison Group -- 68 67 68 69


The threshold for the institutional graduation rate was reached using six years as the accepted measure. This was concluded because the Student Right-to-Know-Act requires colleges to report the proportion of students “completing their program within 150 percent of the normal time to completion.” For baccalaureate granting institutions, that means the proportion of students who earn bachelor’s degrees within six years. The University established fifty-one percent (51%) as the goal for the 2020-21 six-year graduation rateThe figure was derived by reviewing past performance independent and in relation to institutions of like size and mission. Here, data show that the University was in the range of its goal.

  2020-21 Three-Year Average 2019-20 2018-19 2017-18
Johnson C. Smith University 44 43 49 36 44
IPEDS Comparison Group -- 48 48 48 47

Graduate School Acceptance

Each year, the Center for Career and Professional Development surveys graduating seniors to identify their post-graduation plans. Alumni surveys and the National Student Clearinghouse are also utilized to assist academic units in efforts to track continuing education and employment trajectories. Because most schools do not publish graduate school acceptance rates, benchmarking is difficult. In 2020-2021, the University has sent around 29% of graduates into graduate school. [Outcomes for the previous two years: 2019-20 (11%) and 2018-19 (19%).]

Therefore, the study of past performance led to the establishment of twenty-nine percent (29%) as the goal for the percentage of graduates who would be accepted into graduate school within twelve months of graduation. 


A parallel and similar process occurs for the tracking and reporting of job placement. Set in 2009-10, the goal for employment began at thirty-two percent (32%) and is raised by 2%-3% each year. Generally, outcomes exceed goals and the University continues to commit itself to improved and sustained interventions on two fronts: internships and research. The opportunity for students to experiment with career possibilities, while gaining invaluable direct experience, by completing internships locally during the academic year and nationally during the summer months are afforded. Also, JCSU has captured a valuable research niche for students in a myriad of academic endeavors, some of which lead to student academic and professional publications. In 2020-21, the goal for student employability twelve months after graduation was fifty percent (54%). Data show the University’s post-graduate employment rate was 37%.

The information on this page is maintained by the Department of Institutional Planning Assessment Effectiveness & Research. For more information or questions please contact them directly at 704.378.3572.