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Completing College: A National View of Student Completion Rates – Fall 2011 Cohort

Completing College: A National View of Student Completion Rates – Fall 2011 Cohort

By Jael Greene

The National Student Clearinghouse recently released its sixth annual report on national college completion rates titled Completing College: A National View of Student Completion Rates – Fall 2011 Cohort. The report examines the six-year completion rates for students who enrolled in an institution of higher education for the first time in the Fall of 2011.

Key findings include:

  • The six-year completion rate for the Fall 2011 cohort was 56.9%, an increase of 2.1% from the Fall 2010 cohort.
    • The Fall 2011 completion rate was the first time that the completion rate had risen above the pre-recession rate of 56.1%.
  • There was an increase in the proportion of traditional-age students and a decrease in the proportion of adult enrollments from 2010 to 2011.
    • From 2010-2011, the proportion of traditional-age students increased to 76.8% from 73.8%, while the proportion of adult enrollments decreased from 18.8% to 13.7%.
  • The proportion of full-time students increased from 39.5% in 2010 to 45.7% for the fall 2011 cohort.
    • This increase contributed to the overall increase in the completion rate as 80.1% of students enrolled exclusively full-time completed a degree within six years, compared to 20.5% for exclusively part-time students and 39.5% for mixed enrollment students.
  • Both four-year public institutions and four-year private nonprofits had noticeable increases in their completions rates compared to 2010.
    • Students who enrolled at public four-year institutions saw an increase in their completion rates from 62.4% to 64.7%.
    • The completion rate for students enrolled at four-year private nonprofits increased from 73.9% to 76.0%.
  • An examination of the eight-year completion rate for the Fall 2009 cohort was also examined in this report. Given an additional two years, the total completion rate for the 2009 cohort increased by 6.1% to 59.0%.