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Research Center Releases Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Completion Rates

by NSC Blog | Mar 6, 2019 | Research Reports, Research Services, Signature Reports |

Results Includes for the First-Time, State-Level Completion Rates by Race and Ethnicity for Four-Year Public Institutions

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released today Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Completion Rates, which provides a state-by-state look at the six-year outcomes for the fall 2012 cohort of students who first attended four-year public, two-year public, or four-year private nonprofit institutions.

“These outcomes provide context for institutions and state policy researchers around their own results as well as an understanding of where to look for best practices among their peers,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Director of the Research Center.

The overall national six-year completion rate reached 58.3 percent for the fall 2012 cohort, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center report, Completing College: A National View of Student Completion Rates – Fall 2012 Cohort. This comprehensive completion rate, unlike most federal and state numbers, includes all students: full-time and part-time, of all ages, at two-year, four-year, public and private institutions, and those who graduated after transferring to a new college or university.

These outcomes provide context for institutions and state policy researchers around their own results as well as an understanding of where to look for best practices among their peers.

Doug Shapiro
Executive Director of the Research Center

Findings of Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Completion Rates:

The national completion rate for the fall 2012 cohort who started in four-year public institutions was 65.7 percent. This overall rate includes full-time, part-time and mixed-time students. In 27 states, the rate was higher than the national average. In seven states (Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia), at least 75 percent who started at a four-year public institution completed a degree within six years.

The national completion rate for the fall 2012 cohort who started in two-year public institutions was 39.2 percent. This overall rate includes full-time, part-time and mixed-time students. In 24 states, the completion rate was higher than the national average. In four states (Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota), more than half of the two-year public starters completed a credential in six years.

The national completion rate for the fall 2012 cohort who started in four-year private nonprofit institutions was 76 percent. In 12 states, more than 80 percent of students who started at a four-year private nonprofit institution completed a degree within six years. These overall rates include full-time, part-time and mixed-time students.

The overall completion rate for women who started at four-year public institutions was 69.9 percent. For men it was 62.1 percent, resulting in an overall national gender attainment gap of 7.7 percentage points. The gender gap in favor of women was largest in Maryland, North Dakota, and Utah. The completion rate for men surpassed the completion rate for women in only one state, Maine, where men graduated at higher rates than women by 1.7 percentage points.

New this year are state-level results by race and ethnicity for four-year public institutions. Results showed that in 20 states, the Black and white completion gap was narrower than the national average of 25 percentage points. In two states (Massachusetts and Oregon), that gap was below 15 percentage points.

Table i. Six-Year Outcomes by Starting Institution Type (N=2,259,497)

Institution Type Total Completion Rate (%) Completion at Same Institution (%) Completion at Different Institution (%) Still Enrolled (At Any Institution) (%) Not Enrolled (At Any Institution) (%)
    Two-Year Four-Year    
Four-Year Public

65.66

54.54 3.28 7.84 10.46 23.88
Four-Year Private Nonprofit

76.06

64.05 2.12 9.89 6.87 17.07
Four-Year Private For-Profit

37.31

26.42 1.85 9.04 10.46 52.23
Two-Year Public

39.22

27.88 3.29 8.05 14.59 46.19

 

Review the report and download the result tables to learn about race and ethnicity details. View the press release here.

 

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