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National Student Clearinghouse Research Center Releases Completing College: A State Level View of Student Attainment Rates

HERNDON, VA, FEB. 24, 2016 — The National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center™ released today six‐year student success outcomes and college completion rates by state to supplement the fall report, Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates – Fall 2009 Cohort (2015). The new report, Completing College: A State Level View of Student Attainment Rates, shows each state’s outcomes for students who started postsecondary education at four‐year public institutions, two‐year public institutions, and four‐year private nonprofit institutions.

Key findings include:

  • Nationally, the college completion rate for students who started in four-year public institutions declined from 2008 to 2009 by 1.7 percentage points, dropping to 61.2 percent from 62.9 percent. In 15 states, the college completion rate was actually positive, including four states (California, Connecticut, Iowa, and South Carolina) where the college completion rate for students who started in four-year public institutions increased by one to two percentage points.
  • Thirty-two percent of students who started at two-year public institutions and completed did so at an institution other than the one where they first enrolled, nationally. In 10 states, over one-third of all completions for two-year public starters happened elsewhere. In California and Texas, more than 40 percent of all completions for students in this sector took place at an institution other than the one where they first enrolled.
  • In 20 states, more than five percent of the starting cohort at a four-year public institution completed in a state different than the starting institution’s state. This was true for students who started at four-year private non-profit institutions in 30 states.

Both national and state-level reports focus on the cohort entering college as first‐time students in fall 2009, following them through May 31, 2015, and highlighting six‐year student outcomes including degree and certificate completion and continuing enrollment (persistence).

The fall Completing College report showed declines in graduation not only in the overall national completion rate, but also every institution type and all student subgroups. Out of 2.9 million students enrolled, the overall national six-year completion rate for the fall 2009 in-coming students was 52.9 percent, a decline of 2.1 percentage points from the fall 2008 cohort.

According to Completing College, nearly one in four students who completed a degree did so at an institution other than the one where they first enrolled. The number was about one in three for those who started at two‐year public institutions. Findings also showed gains from completions elsewhere were higher for traditional‐age students than for delayed entry students (over age 20 through age 24 at first entry) and adult learners (over age 24 at first entry).

To see more details and key results, read the new report, Completing College: A State Level View of Student Attainment Rates or the fall report, Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates – Fall 2009 Cohort.

About the National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center™

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center is the research arm of the National Student Clearinghouse. The Research Center collaborates with higher education institutions, states, school districts, high schools, and educational organizations as part of a national effort to better inform education leaders and policymakers. Through accurate longitudinal data outcomes reporting, the Research Center enables better educational policy decisions leading to improved student outcomes. To learn more about the Clearinghouse Research Center, visit http://research.studentclearinghouse.org.

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