Posted by: Gregory Linton | 06/17/2020

College completion rates rose in fall 2019

On December 10, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released its annual report on college completion rates. Their methodology is unique in that they track students who finish at an institution other than the one at which they first enrolled. This provides a more accurate picture of how many students who start college end up finishing within six years. This year’s report, which focuses on the 2013 entering cohort, indicates some interesting trends, as I summarize below:

  • The overall college completion rate has increased by seven percentage points in the last for yours (52.9% to 59.7%).
  • Completion rates increased for the 2013 cohort across all types of starting institutions.
  • The college completion rate for students who started at a profit nonprofit institution was 76.5%, a 5.1-point increase from the low of 71.5% for the 2009 cohort.
  • The 2013 cohort consisted of 78.2% traditional age students (<21) and 11.5% adult learners (age 25 and over). The proportion of adult learners declined by one percentage point from the previous cohort.
  • Initial enrollments at four-year institutions increased slightly while initial enrollments at two-year institutions decreased.
  • 48% of the 2013 cohort were enrolled exclusively full-time, an increase of one percentage point over the previous cohort.
  • Completions at the starting institution increased for each type of starting institution.
  • In every racial/ethnic category, the completion rate for women substantially surpassed the rate for men.
  • African American men had the lowest completion rate (42%).
  • Of the 50 college major fields defined by the U.S. Department of Education, seven fields account for 61% of all bachelor’s degrees awarded: Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support (18%); Social Sciences (8%); Engineering (8%); Biological and Biomedical Sciences (8%); Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences (8%); Psychology (6%); and Communication, Journalism and Related Programs (6%).

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