Posted by: Gregory Linton | 02/18/2019

NSC Research Center updates completion rates by race and ethnicity

Last week, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released a 27-page report as a supplement to an earlier report on six-year completion rates for the Fall 2010 entering cohort of college students. This supplement disaggregates the rates by race and ethnicity, and it is based on a sample of 2.8 million students. In contrast to similar reports, the NSC report includes students who transfer and graduate somewhere else. Here is a selection of interesting findings.

Across all four groups, women outnumber men:

Race/Ethnicity Women Men
Asian 52.2% 47.8%
White 54.0% 46.0%
Hispanic 56.6% 43.4%
Black 58.9% 41.2%


The table below lists the percentage within each category that started at each type of institution:

Race/Ethnicity 4-year Public 2-Year Public Private
Asian 45.1% 37.8% 17.1%
White 45.9% 35.6% 18.5%
Hispanic 36.3% 50.8% 13.0%
Black 36.6% 48.5% 14.9%


54.8% of students who started in any type of college or university in Fall 2010 completed a degree or certificate within six years. The table below shows completion rates by race/ethnicity:

Race/Ethnicity Completion Rate
Asian 63.2%
White 62.0%
Hispanic 45.8%
Black 38.0%


In all four categories, women have a much higher six-year completion rate than men:

Race/Ethnicity Women Men
Asian 67.1% 59.9%
White 65.8% 58.2%
Hispanic 49.5% 41.8%
Black 42.4% 33.5%


Here is a summary of other findings. Black students tend to be older when they enter college. Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to start in community colleges. The completion gaps between racial groups tend to shrink as the students grow older. Among adult learners, the gap was 12.3 percentage points between black and white students, which is much less than the 24-point gap for traditional students. For Hispanic and white students, the gap decreases from 16.2 points to 9.1 points.

The authors offer the following conclusion: “There is much work for institutions to do to improve students’ postsecondary outcomes regardless of the pathway they pursue: whether they are native to the institution, transferring in or transferring out” (p. 22).

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