This second annual report on national college completions rates continues to respond to the limitations of institution-based research by focusing on student-level data, tracking the completion of postsecondary certificates and degrees among first-time degree-seeking students who started their postsecondary education in fall 2007 and tracking their enrollments nationwide for six years, through the spring of 2013. The report also introduces an enhancement to the first Completions Report by including in the cohort students who entered college with prior experience in college-level courses through dual enrollment opportunities while still in high school.
In fall 2013, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased 1.5% from the previous fall. In fall 2013, enrollments decreased among four-year for-profit institutions (-9.7 percent) and two-year public institutions (-3.1 percent). However, enrollments increased slightly among four-year public institutions (+0.3%) and four-year private non-profit institutions (+1.3%).
This Signature Completions Extra will present the six-year outcomes for the fall 2007 cohort, not including dual enrollment students. The data will allow readers to compare the fall 2007 cohort results to the fall 2006 cohort results that were presented in November 2012 as part of Signature Report 4, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s first college completion study.
Between 2009 and 2013, students over the age of 26 showed a 25% growth rate in science and engineering bachelor’s degree completion compared to a 19% growth rate among students age 26 or under at time of completion.
Between 2009 and 2013, S&E bachelor’s degree completions for both men and women had almost identical growth at 20% and 21%, respectively. With social sciences and psychology included, women accounted for 50% of all S&E bachelor’s degrees in both 2009 and 2013.
This report provides high school-to-college transition rates for graduates of public high schools. The rates are reported for students from six categories of high schools, based on the school-level demographic and geographic characteristics.
In our fifth Signature Report, we examine an increasingly important role community colleges play in helping students attain a baccalaureate degree. As our results show, going from a two-year to a four-year institution is a very successful pathway to a bachelor’s degree for those who transfer.
6.5% of students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2008-09 enrolled in a two-year institution within the next two academic years, an increase from 5.9 percent of 2004-05 graduates.
In the current term (spring 2013), enrollments have decreased, compared to the previous spring, in every sector except four-year private nonprofits, with the largest decreases taking place among four-year for-profits (-8.7 percent) and two-year publics (-3.6 percent).
In the state supplement to our fourth Signature Report, a national study on college completion, we take a state-by-state look at the various pathways that students take to complete a college degree or certificate.