When it comes to costs, graduation rates and degree relevancy, Northeast Ohio colleges and universities compare well with other schools in the state according to a study released Wednesday.

The Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE) Impact Assessment reports on findings in those three areas and more at 62 private and public colleges and universities in the area.

“This is a first-ever report on data from the post-secondary institutions in our region,” Holly J. Harris Bane, president of NOCHE, said. “It shows we are making significant progress in lowering the cost of higher education while improving outcomes by graduating more degree-holders, and serving a larger proportion of minority and nontraditional students.”

Harris Bane said the report is significant because the Ohio Department of Higher Education recently declared an urgent statewide goal to address the state’s growing talent gap. The goal is to raise the percentage of Ohioans ages 25-64 who have a degree, certificate or other postsecondary credential of value in the workplace by 2025.

The numbers from Northeast Ohio schools were compared to 168 other institutions in the state over five years (2010-2014).

Here are the findings:

• Access: About a quarter of a million students attend institutions in Northeast Ohio. The institutions account for 45 percent of the state’s dual enrollment high school students, 42 percent of the state’s students over 40 years old, 42 percent of the state’s African-American students and 37 percent of the state’s Hispanic students.

Looking at the average fall enrollment profile each year, 13 percent of the nearly quarter million students are new students, 58 percent are enrolled full time and 42 percent part time. Eighty-seven percent are enrolled in undergraduate programs. About 70 percent are white students, 15 percent African-American and 3 percent Hispanics.

• Success: Northeast Ohio institutions award about 43,000 certificates and degrees each year. (33,450 certificates, associate and bachelor degrees each year plus another 9,700 graduate degrees). Despite overall declining enrollment, the rate of undergraduate degrees outpaced the rest of Ohio, quadrupling over the most recent four-year period. There were no differences between NEO and non-NEO in the growth rate of graduate degrees. Also, three-quarters of Northeast Ohio’s two-year students transfer to four-year institutions.

• Efficiency: The median cost of attendance is about 3 percent lower than other institutions across Ohio and has not increased as fast as the rest of the state in recent years. Also, the NEO institutions are administratively lean. Non-instructional staff is about 10 percent lower than statewide averages.

• Economic Impact: The colleges and universities in Northeast Ohio supply ample graduates to meet the needs in key industries such as education, biomedical sciences, legal professions, computer and information sciences and in the visual and performing arts. They also employ more than 38,000 people, paying $1.8 billion in salaries. In turn, the payout results in $136 million in state and local tax revenue.

“Hopefully, there will be an ongoing impact assessment on a yearly basis that would also gather additional data such as, our graduates, do they stay in Northeast Ohio,” Harris Bane said. “That’s coming forward in the future. We are working with the universities to really be systematic in how we collect this data.”

Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or mmiller@thebeaconjournal.com.