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ERIC Number: ED538117
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 81
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 38
Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates. Signature[TM] Report 4
Shapiro, Doug; Dundar, Afet; Chen, Jin; Ziskin, Mary; Park, Eunkyoung; Torres, Vasti; Chiang, Yi-Chen
National Student Clearinghouse
College completion, earning a degree or certificate, is considered to be a key college success outcome, supported by every educational policymaker. Yet, institutions and policymakers in the U.S. know surprisingly little about the rates of completion for students who follow all but the most traditional of postsecondary pathways. This is because traditional graduation rate calculations are institution based and only count students who finish at the same institution where they started. Building on findings from previous reports in the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center's "Signature Report" series, this new report measures this key college success outcome--rates of first completion--encompassing postsecondary credentials of all levels and types at any institution in any state, whether it is the first, second, third, or more, attended. This report draws on the Clearinghouse database's near-census national coverage of enrollments and awarded degrees to explore the six-year outcomes of a cohort of first-time-in-college degree-seeking students who started in fall 2006 (N=1,878,484). It enhances the traditional graduation rate by reporting in four key ways: (1) Student completion anywhere, beyond institutional boundaries, across state lines, and over time; (2) Persistence anywhere, not just at the starting institution, for those who have not yet completed but are still pursuing a degree; (3) College outcomes broken out by student age at first entry and enrollment intensity, thus addressing questions about the role of students' varied postsecondary pathways in progress toward national completion goals; and (4) Enrollment intensity based on the enrollment status in all terms of enrollment, and not just the first term. Specifically, this report examines: (1) Six-year college outcomes, including the first instance of degree or certificate completion (first completion), persistence, and stop-out. Outcomes are broken out by students' age at first entry, students' enrollment intensity, enrollment intensity within each age group, and type of starting institution; (2) Six-year college outcomes for students who started at four-year public institutions, at two-year public institutions, at four-year private nonprofit institutions, and at four-year private for-profit institutions; and (3) Patterns of completion across state lines, broken out by students' enrollment intensity, students' age at first entry, and enrollment intensity within each age group. The findings presented in this report show that within six years, 12.1 percent of first-time-in-college degree-seeking students who enrolled in fall 2006 completed a degree or certificate at an institution other than their starting institution, raising the overall completion rate from 42.0 percent to 54.1 percent. Mixed enrollment students completed at an institution other than their starting institution at a higher rate (14.6 percent) than exclusively full-time (10.6 percent) and exclusively part-time (3.1 percent) students. Appended are: (1) Methodological Notes; (2) Coverage Tables; and (3) Results Tables. (Contains 29 figures, 34 tables, and 5 footnotes.)
National Student Clearinghouse. 2300 Dulles Station Boulevard Suite 300, Herndon, VA 20171. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation
Authoring Institution: National Student Clearinghouse
Identifiers - Location: United States