National College Completion Rates and Dual Enrollment

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The National Student Clearinghouse released its second annual college completions report in December 2013. Data was collected from over 3,500 participating colleges and universities.

Findings in the 2013 report include:

  • Nearly one in four students who completed a degree or certificate (23.4 percent) did so at an institution different than the one where they first enrolled.
  • Completions beyond the starting institution raised the overall completion rate from 43 to 56 percent.
  • Gains from completions at institutions other than the starting institution were greater for students who were age 20 or younger when they first entered college than they were for older students: 14.7 percentage points, compared to 8.4 and 6.8 percentage points for the delayed entry (age 21‐24) and adult learner (over age 24) groups, respectively.
  • Six‐year completion rates for the fall of 2007 national cohort showed a gender gap of 6.7 percentage points in favor of women.
  • Seven‐year outcomes for the fall 2006 cohort showed a 4 percentage point increase (from 54.1 to 58.1 percent) in total completions over the six‐year rate reported in our 2012 completions report. Changes in percentages from the six‐ to seven‐year outcome show the advantages of tracking college students for a longer period.
  • Seventeen percent of two‐year starters completed a four‐year degree, and more than half of those did so without first receiving an associate’s degree.

Additional information in the report deals with Dual Enrollment Students:

This report introduced a significant enhancement to the student cohort under study by including, for the first time, those students who entered college with prior experience in college-level courses through dual enrollment opportunities while still in high school. Analysis of the postsecondary outcomes of former dual enrollment students showed a completion rate of 66 percent for this group, 12 percentage points higher than the completion rate for the students who had no prior dual enrollment experience in the fall 2007 entering cohort….The results show that including students with prior dual enrollments in the starting cohort clearly increases the observed national college completion rate.


Access the full report here:


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