Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates
Posted by National Student Clearinghouse on March 30, 2015
A State-by-State Look at the Path to College
A new report issued by the National Student Clearinghouse, “Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates,” takes a state-by-state look at the pathways students traverse on their way to completing a degree. The report complements a previous NSC report on the enrollment and completion patterns of a cohort of 2.7 million students. The cohort first enrolled in college in the fall of 2008 and were studied for six years.
Some of the most interesting data found in the report is related to where students enroll in college vs. where they complete. For example:
- Nationally, 13 percent of students who started at four-year public institutions completed at a different institution; in 24 states, this rate was higher.
- Nationally, one in three students who started at two-year public institutions completed at an institution other than the one where they first enrolled; in seven states, this was closer to 40 percent.
- In five states, more than 20 percent of the students who started at two-year public institutions completed at a four-year institution (with or without first receiving a credential at a two-year institution) within six years.
- In 11 states, at least one in five women who started at two-year public institutions completed at a four-year institution but in only two states was that the case for men.
There were two interesting corollary pieces. One is an interactive tool on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s website that uses the NSC data to display the state-by-state six-year graduation rates for various student demographics from four-year public, four-year private nonprofit, and two-year public institutions. Another is an article on the Bloomberg called “The College Dropout Problem May Not Be As Bad As the Government Says.” The tone of that article unfortunately sometimes borders on dismissing the idea that there is a completion problem at all – I mention this as a reminder that not everyone is on the same page as we are on this issue. A 55% completion rate is closer to the goal but we’re still not there yet!
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