Our Reports

The Research Center regularly publishes research on student enrollment, movement, and other important student outcomes using student-level data provided exclusively to the National Student Clearinghouse by our nationwide network of postsecondary institutions. These reports are to benefit and better inform the educational community, policymakers, community leaders, and others.

 

SIGNATURE REPORTS

Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates – Fall 2010 Cohort

December 4, 2016

This fifth annual report on national college completion rates offers a look at the six-year outcomes for students who began postsecondary education in fall 2010, toward the end of the Great Recession. It looks at the various pathways students took toward degree completion, as well as the completion rates through May 2016 for the different student types who followed each pathway.

Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates

March 01, 2017

In the state supplement to our twelveth Signature Report, a national study on college completion, we take a state-by-state look at the six-year outcomes for students who began postsecondary education in fall 2010.

Time to Degree: A National View of the Time Enrolled and Elapsed for Associate and Bachelor’s Degree Earners

September 18, 2016

This report examines time to degree completion for a cohort of students who earned an associate degree as their first and only postsecondary degree or a bachelor’s degree as their first four-year degree between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015. Overall, the average time enrolled for associate and bachelor’s degree earners was 3.3 years and 5.1 years, respectively. However, as the report shows, the time required for successful degree attainment could be influenced by the pathway the student followed as well as by factors, such as stop outs and less than full-time enrollment status.

Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates – Fall 2009 Cohort

November 16, 2015

This fourth annual report on national college completion rates offers a look at the six-year outcomes for students who began postsecondary education in fall 2009, the cohort that entered college as the Great Recession was ending. It looks at the various pathways students took toward degree completion, as well as the completion rates through May 2015 for the different student types who followed each pathway. The report also provides discussion comparing the fall 2009 cohort’s outcomes to those of the fall 2008 cohort (analyzed in our third annual completions report, Signature Report 8).

Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates

February 23, 2016

In the state supplement to our tenth Signature Report, a national study on college completion, we take a state-by-state look at the six-year outcomes for students who began postsecondary education in fall 2009.

Transfer & Mobility: A National View of Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2008 Cohort

July 6, 2015

This second report on transfer and mobility, examines multiple transfer pathways for the cohort of students who started postsecondary education in 2008. It reveals how student enrollment patterns that involve multiple movements among two or more institutions and across state boundaries has become the new normal, demonstrating the need for a comprehensive view of student transfer and mobility to inform education policymaking and institutional improvement efforts. The report also provides discussion comparing the 2008 cohort’s outcomes to those of the 2006 cohort (analyzed in our first transfer and mobility report, Signature Report 2).

Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates – Fall 2008 Cohort

November 17, 2014

This third annual report on national college completion rates offers the first look at the six-year outcomes for students who began postsecondary education in fall 2008, the cohort that entered college during the Great Recession. It looks at the various pathways students took toward degree completion, as well as the completion rates through May 2014 for the different student types who followed each pathway. The report also provides discussion comparing the fall 2008 cohort’s outcomes to those of the fall 2007 cohort (analyzed in our second annual completions report, Signature Report 6).

Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates

February 23, 2015

In the state supplement to our eighth Signature Report, a national study on college completion, we take a state-by-state look at the various pathways that students take to complete a college degree or certificate.

Some College, No Degree: A National View of Students with Some College Enrollment, but No Completion

July 28, 2014

Over the past 20 years, more than 31 million students have enrolled in college and left without receiving a degree or certificate. Almost one-third of this population had only a minimal interaction with the higher education system, having enrolled for just a single term at a single institution. Signature Report 7 examines the “some college, no degree” phenomenon to better understand the value of some college in its own right and as well as the contribution the “some college, no degree” population can make to achieving college completion goals.

Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates – Fall 2007 Cohort

December 15, 2013

This second annual report on national college completions rates continues to respond to the limitations of institution-based research by focusing on student-level data, tracking the completion of postsecondary certificates and degrees among first-time degree-seeking students who started their postsecondary education in fall 2007 and tracking their enrollments nationwide for six years, through the spring of 2013. The report also introduces an enhancement to the first Completions Report by including in the cohort students who entered college with prior experience in college-level courses through dual enrollment opportunities while still in high school.

Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates

March 19, 2014

In the state supplement to our sixth Signature Report, a national study on college completion, we take a state-by-state look at the various pathways that students take to complete a college degree or certificate.

Signature Extra: Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates – Fall 2007 Cohort

November 20, 2013

This Signature Completions Extra will present the six-year outcomes for the fall 2007 cohort, not including dual enrollment students. The data will allow readers to compare the fall 2007 cohort results to the fall 2006 cohort results that were presented in November 2012 as part of Signature Report 4, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s first college completion study.

Baccalaureate Attainment: A National View of the Postsecondary Outcomes of Students Who Transfer from Two-Year to Four-Year Institutions

August 6, 2013

In our fifth Signature Report, we examine an increasingly important role community colleges play in helping students attain a baccalaureate degree. As our results show, going from a two-year to a four-year institution is a very successful pathway to a bachelor’s degree for those who transfer.

Completing College: A National-Level View of Student Attainment Rates

November 15, 2012

In our fourth Signature Report, we examine the various pathways that students take to complete a college degree or certificate. Our report goes beyond traditional graduation rate calculations that focus on first-time full-time students who finish at their starting institution to provide the most comprehensive look at student outcomes on today’s campuses.

Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates

February 16, 2013

In the state supplement to our fourth Signature Report, a national study on college completion, we take a state-by-state look at the various pathways that students take to complete a college degree or certificate.

Reverse Transfer: A National View of Student Mobility from Four-Year to Two-Year Institutions

July 24, 2012

In our third Signature Report, we examine enrollment pathways of reverse transfer students, those who moved from four-year to two-year institutions outside of summer months. Understanding this type of student mobility can help campus policymakers at both two-year and four-year institutions craft policies that will help institutions reach their enrollment goals and better assist students in making decisions about their educational pathways.

Transfer and Mobility: A National View of Pre-Degree Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions

February 28, 2012

In our second Signature Report, we analyze students’ transfer behaviors to better understand their postsecondary pathways. A detailed view of transfer rates is critical in helping institutions and policymakers develop strategies and policies that facilitate successful outcomes.

National Postsecondary Enrollment Trends: Before, During, and After the Great Recession

July 14, 2011

The very first Signature Report separates fact from fiction on the Great Recession’s impact on higher education enrollment, bringing college administrators and policymakers the knowledge on how the changed economy has altered student behaviors in enrollment and persistence.

SNAPSHOT REPORTS

National Success and Progress Rates

March 13, 2017

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released today Snapshot 25: National Success and Progress Rates, which goes beyond typical measures of postsecondary attainment by tracking the fall 2010 entering cohort over time, and showing persistence, stop-out, and completion rates at the end of each subsequent academic year.

Two-Year Enrollment after Bachelor’s Degree

August 25, 2016

During the Great Recession, there was a slight increase in the percentage of bachelor’s degree earners who opted to continue their educations at two-year institutions. However, that percentage has now dropped well below pre-recession levels, with only 5.8 percent of 2013-14 bachelor’s degree earners having returned to college at two-year institutions.

Certificate and Associate Degree Pathways, 2009-10

June 27, 2016

Of all associate degrees reported to the National Student Clearinghouse for the 2009-10 academic year, 536,351 were earned by students with no previous degrees or certificates. Within the next six academic years, over 64 percent of these students enrolled at a four-year institution and 41 percent earned a bachelor’s degree.

Persistence and Retention

May 3, 2016

Of all students who started college in fall 2014, 72.1 percent persisted at any U.S. institution in fall 2015, while 60.6 percent were retained at their starting institution.

Postsecondary Student One-Year Mobility Rates

April 20, 2016

During the 2014-15 academic year, 9.4 percent of all students attended more than one institution, a figure that has remained constant for the last three years. In each year shown, the mobility rate was highest for students who began the academic year at a two-year public institution.

Yearly Success & Progress Rates

March 22, 2016

This snapshot goes beyond traditional measures of postsecondary attainment by tracking the fall 2009 entering cohort over time, and showing persistence, stop-out, and completion rates at the end of each subsequent academic year. The model tracks outcomes for both full-time and part-time starters, and takes spring and summer terms into account.

Degree Pathways

June 16, 2015

Of all associate degrees earned in 2008-09 that were reported to the National Student Clearinghouse, 488,046 were found to be the first postsecondary credential earned by a student. Forty-one percent of these students went on to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years.

Persistence-Retention

April 22, 2015

The overall persistence rate for students who entered college in Fall 2013 was 1.0 percentage points higher than that of students who entered college in Fall 2012, while the retention rate increased by 1.1 percentage points.

Contribution of Two-Year Institutions to Four-Year Completions

March 24, 2015

In the 2013-14 academic year, 46 percent of students who completed a four-year degree were enrolled at a two-year institution at some point in the previous 10 years

Interstate Mobility of Students

March 24, 2015

Nationally, 14.6 percent of all 2013-14 college graduates attended college in at least one other state or territory in the 10 years prior to receiving a credential.

Science & Engineering Degree Attainment: 2004-2014

January 26, 2015

From 2004 to 2014, science and engineering degrees increased in prevalence for both genders. The trend was driven by growth in the so-called “hard sciences.”

First-Year Persistence and Retention Rates by Starting Enrollment Intensity: 2009-2012

July 9, 2014

The overall persistence rate for first-time college students has dropped 1.2 percentage points since 2009, while the retention rate has remained nearly constant.

Postsecondary Student Mobility Rate: 2011-2013

May 5, 2014

Just over 9% of all students attended more than one institution during the 2012-13 academic year. Overall, student mobility rates increased from 2010-11 to 2011-12, and then stabilized in 2012-13.

Growth in Science and Engineering (S&E) Bachelor’s Degrees by Age

November 18, 2013

Between 2009 and 2013, students over the age of 26 showed a 25% growth rate in S&E bachelor’s degree completion compared to a 19% growth rate among traditional-age students (those age 26 or under at time of completion). In 2013, students over the age of 26 accounted for 18% of all S&E bachelor’s degrees.

Growth in Science and Engineering (S&E) Bachelor’s Degrees by Gender

November 18, 2013

Between 2009 and 2013, S&E bachelor’s degree completions for both men and women had almost identical growth at 20% and 21%, respectively. With social sciences and psychology included, women accounted for 50% of all S&E bachelor’s degrees in both 2009 and 2013.

Bachelor’s Degree Recipients Who Subsequently Enrolled in Two-Year Institutions

June 18, 2013

6.5% of students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2008-09 enrolled in a two-year institution within the next two academic years, an increase from 5.9 percent of 2004-05 graduates.

Timing of First Postsecondary Enrollment

November 29, 2012

In academic year 2011-12, over a quarter of all first-time college students entered postsecondary institutions in January or later months.

Outcomes of Two-to-Four Transfer Students

November 8, 2012

About 60% of all two-to-four transfer students graduated with a bachelor’s or higher degree within four years of transferring.

Two-Year Degrees by Age Group

October 16, 2012

From 2007-08 to 2010-11, the number of degrees awarded to students age 25 and older increased by 22%, compared to 17% for those under age 25.

Two-Year Contributions to Four-Year Degrees

September 6, 2012

45% of 2010-11 degree completers at four-year institutions had previous enrollments at two-year institutions.

Interstate Mobility of Students

September 6, 2012

15% of 2010-11 undergraduate degree recipients had previously attended college in at least one other state or territory.

Adult Learner Enrollment

April 19, 2012

On average, 38% of postsecondary students were age 25 or older (Fall 2009 – Fall 2011).

Concurrent Enrollment

December 8, 2011

3% of students had overlapping enrollments at more than one institution in 2010-2011.

Institutional Mobility of Students

December 8, 2011

8% of students attended more than one postsecondary institution in 2010-2011.

Subsequent Term Persistence

December 8, 2011

85% of Fall 2010 students persisted into the next term or graduated.

CURRENT TERM ENROLLMENT ESTIMATES

Fall 2016 Term Enrollment Estimates

December 19, 2016

In fall 2016, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased 1.4 percent from the previous fall. Figure 1 shows the 12-month percentage change (fall-to-fall and spring-to-spring) for each term over the last three years. Enrollments decreased among four-year for-profit institutions (-14.5 percent), two-year public institutions (-2.6 percent), and four-year private nonprofit institutions (-0.6 percent). Enrollments increased slightly among four-year public institutions (+0.2 percent). Taken as a whole, public sector enrollment (2-year and 4-year combined) declined by 1.0 percent this fall.

Spring 2016 Term Enrollment Estimates

May 23, 2016

In spring 2016, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased 1.3 percent from the previous spring. Figure 1 shows the 12-month percentage change (fall-to-fall and spring-to-spring) for each term over the last three years. Enrollments decreased among four-year for-profit institutions (-9.3 percent) and two-year public institutions (-2.8 percent). Enrollments increased slightly among four-year public institutions (+0.6 percent) and four-year private nonprofit institutions (+0.7 percent). This report includes national enrollment estimates as well as subtotals by institutional sector, state, enrollment intensity, age group, and gender.

Fall 2015 Term Enrollment Estimates

December 16, 2015

In fall 2015, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased 1.7 percent from the previous fall. Enrollments decreased among four-year for-profit institutions (-13.7 percent), two-year public institutions (-2.4 percent), and four-year private nonprofit institutions (-0.3 percent). Enrollments increased slightly among four-year public institutions (+0.4 percent). Taken as a whole, public sector enrollment (2-year and 4-year combined) declined by 2.3 percent this fall.

Spring 2015 Term Enrollment Estimates

May 13, 2015

In spring 2015, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased 1.9 percent from the previous spring. Enrollments decreased among four-year for-profit institutions (-4.9 percent), two-year public institutions (-3.9 percent), and four-year private non-profit institutions (-0.2 percent). Enrollments increased slightly among four-year public institutions (+0.1 percent). Taken as a whole, public sector enrollments (two-year and four-year combined) declined by 1.7 percent this spring.

Fall 2014 Term Enrollment Estimates

December 10, 2014

In fall 2014, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased 1.3 percent from the previous fall. In fall 2014, enrollments decreased among two-year public institutions (-6.0 percent) and four-year for-profit institutions (-0.4 percent). Enrollments increased among four-year public institutions (+2.2 percent) and four-year private non-profit institutions (+1.6 percent).

Spring 2014 Term Enrollment Estimates

May 14, 2014

In spring 2014, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased 0.8% from the previous spring. Enrollments decreased among four-year for-profit institutions (-4.9 percent) and two-year public institutions (-2.7 percent). However, enrollments increased slightly among four-year public institutions (+0.7%) and four-year private non-profit institutions (+2.0%).

Fall 2013 Term Enrollment Estimates

December 11, 2013

In fall 2013, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased 1.5% from the previous fall. In fall 2013, enrollments decreased among four-year for-profit institutions (-9.7 percent) and two-year public institutions (-3.1 percent). However, enrollments increased slightly among four-year public institutions (+0.3%) and four-year private non-profit institutions (+1.3%).

Spring 2013 Term Enrollment Estimates

May 16, 2013

Spring 2013 postsecondary enrollments decreased 2.3%, compared to the previous spring, with the largest decreases taking place among four-year for-profits and two-year publics.

Fall 2012 Term Enrollment Estimates

December 18, 2012

Fall 2012 postsecondary enrollments decreased 1.2%, compared to the previous fall, with the largest decreases taking place among four-year for-profits and two-year publics.

HIGH SCHOOL BENCHMARKS REPORTS

2016 High School Benchmarks Report

October 27, 2016

Our fourth annual report provides new data on high school graduates’ college access, persistence, and completion outcomes. The data in this report are presented for students from different types of high schools, such as low versus higher income and low versus high minority, to enable more focused discussions, particularly about low income and minority students traditionally not well served by higher education.

2015 High School Benchmarks Report

October 14, 2015

Our third annual report provides new data on high school graduates’ college access, persistence, and completion outcomes, including completions in STEM fields. A supplemental feature highlighting the differences in access and attainment for graduates from high- and low-poverty public non-charter high schools is also included.

2014 High School Benchmarks Report

October 13, 2014

Our second annual report provides high school-to-college transition rates for graduates of public non-charter, public charter, and private high schools. For students of public non-charter high schools the rates are reported in 12 categories based on the school-level demographic and geographic characteristics.

2013 High School Benchmarks Report

October 15, 2013

This report provides average high school-to-college transition rates for graduates of public high schools. The averages are reported for students from six categories of high schools, based on the school-level demographic and geographic characteristics.

UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE EARNERS REPORTS

Undergraduate Degree Earners Report, 2014-15

March 9, 2016

The total number of undergraduate degree earners has remained nearly constant over the last four years, with 2,804,133 students earning associate and bachelor’s degrees in 2014-15, a 0.3 percent increase from 2011-12.