In the state supplement to our twelfth 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.

Suggested Citation: Shapiro, D., Dundar, A., Wakhungu, P., Yuan, X., Nathan, A & Hwang, Y., A. (2016, February). Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates (Signature Report No. 12a). Herndon, VA: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

About This Report

AUTHORS

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

  • Doug Shapiro
  • Afet Dundar

Project on Academic Success, Indiana University

  • Phoebe Khasiala Wakhungu
  • Xin Yuan
  • Angel Nathan
  • Youngsik Hwang

SPONSOR

This report was supported by a grant from the Lumina Foundation. Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college — especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina’s goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change. For more information, log on to www.luminafoundation.org.

Among the study’s findings:

  • Nationally, 16.0 percent of two-year starters received a degree from a four-year institution within six years, with or without a prior associate’s degree. In 16 states, this percentage was higher than the national average. In four states (Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, and Virginia), one in five students who started at a two-year public institution had a four-year degree within six years.
  • In 19 states, more than five percent of the starting cohort at four-year public institutions completed at an institution in a different state. This was true in 30 states for students who started at four-year private nonprofit institutions.
  • Nationally, one in three students who started at a two-year public institution and completed did so at an institution other than the one where they first enrolled. In 11 states, over one-third of all completions for two-year public starters happened elsewhere. In California, Idaho, Missouri, South Carolina, and Texas, more than 40 percent of all completions for students in this sector took place at an institution other than the one where they first enrolled.
  • The college completion rate for students who started in four-year public institutions increased from 2009 to 2010 by 1.2 percentage points, from 61.2 percent to 62.4 percent, nationally. In the majority of the states, the college completion rate also increased from 2009 to 2010 (in 37 states). The states where the four-year college completion rate declined, the decrease was small, less than one percentage point in nearly all cases.
  • In four states (Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia) at least one-third of the students who started in four-year public institutions and enrolled exclusively part time completed some type of degree within six years. Nationally, about 20 percent of exclusively part-time students at four-year public institutions completed a degree within the same period.
  • Nationally, 44.8 percent of adult learners who started in a four-year institution completed a degree within six years. In five states (Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, and Virginia), more than 60 percent of adult learners received a degree within the same period. Among two-year starters, 36.2 percent of adult learners completed a degree, nationally. In five states (Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) more than half of adult learners in this sector completed a degree within six years.
  • The gap in the six-year completion rate of traditional-age students and adult learners among students who started in four-year institutions, nationally, was about 21 percentage points (65.6 percent and 44.8 percent, respectively). In seven states (Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, and Utah), this gap was much narrower at less than 10 percentage points.

Introduction

As a supplement to Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates – Fall 2010 Cohort (2016), hereafter “Completing College,” this report focuses on six-year student success outcomes and college completion rates by state. Three sets of tables organized by institution type display the results, presenting each state’s outcomes for students who started postsecondary education at four-year public institutions, two-year public institutions, and four-year private nonprofit institutions. Each set of tables provides state-level overviews of college completion outcomes.

Further results are included, displaying state-level six-year outcomes for students:

  • By enrollment intensity across the six-year study period—exclusively full time (Tables 2, 11, 20), exclusively part time (Tables 3, 12, 21), and mixed (Tables 4, 13, 22);
  • By age at first entry to college—age 20 and younger (Tables 5, 14, 23), over age 20 through age 24 (Tables 6, 15, 24), and over age 24 (Tables 7, 16, 25);
  • By gender—women and men who started at each institution type (Tables 8, 17, 26 and 9, 18, 27, respectively).

As presented in Completing College, the overall six-year completion rate for first-time-in-college degree-seeking students who started college in fall 2010 was 54.8 percent, including 12.8 percent who completed at an institution different from their starting institution. In other words, nearly one in four students who completed a degree did so at an institution other than the one of their initial enrollment.  The rate was close to one in three for those who started at two-year public institutions. Findings from Completing College also showed that gains from completions elsewhere were higher for traditional-age students than for delayed entry students (over age 20 through age 24 at first entry) and adult learners (over age 24 at first entry).

When disaggregated by institution type, the total completion rate was highest for students who started at four-year private nonprofit institutions (73.9 percent), followed by 62.4 percent for students who started at four-year public institutions. The completion rate was 39.3 percent for those who started at two-year public institutions, see Table i below (see Completing College for further details). The overall proportion of students completing elsewhere, was about the same for students who started at any of these three institution types – about 13 percent of the starting cohort.

Table i. Six-Year Outcomes by Starting Institution Type (N=2,911,634)

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
Overall 54.77 42.00 3.06 9.71 13.29 31.94
Four-Year Public 62.43 49.46 3.21 9.76 13.24 24.33
Four-Year Private Nonprofit 73.86 60.88 2.38 10.60 8.45 17.70
Four-Year Private For-Profit 37.14 25.84 1.91 9.39 10.69 52.17
Two-Year Public 39.29 26.67 3.32 9.30 15.80 44.90
Two-Year Private Nonprofit 46.76 33.07 3.57 10.13 12.63 40.61
Two-Year Private For-Profit 69.68 64.28 1.36 4.04 2.09 28.28

Building on the findings presented in Completing College, this follow-up report examines college completion rates for each state where the Clearinghouse data coverage for the study cohort was at least 65 percent. Both Completing College and this supplement report focus on the fall 2010 cohort, following them through May 31, 2016, and highlighting six-year student outcomes including degree and certificate completion and continuing enrollment (persistence). Completions were established using a combination of degree/certificate award records submitted by institutions as part of their participation in DegreeVerify and StudentTracker. Details on weighting and the imputation of missing data can be found in Appendix A of Completing College.

COHORT AND DATA DEFINITIONS

Over 2.9 million first-time degree-seeking students who started their postsecondary studies in the fall of 2010 make up the cohort examined in this study. First-time status was established by confirming that a student (1) did not show a postsecondary enrollment record in the four years prior to summer 2010 and (2) did not receive a degree or certificate from any postsecondary institution prior to fall 2010, according to Clearinghouse data. Fall 2010 enrollments were defined as enrollment during any term starting August 15 through October 31, inclusive: if the institution had no term begin date during this period then between July 11 and August 14, 2010.

HIGHLIGHTING STATE-LEVEL RESULTS

This supplemental report presents student outcomes by the state where the students’ entering institution was located. Data coverage for the cohort identified in this study varies somewhat across states and institution types within states (see Appendix A of this report for coverage by state and institution type). Accordingly, we have included state-by-state results for four-year public, two-year public, and four-year private nonprofit institutions, including within each of these categories those states for which the historical data coverage (percentage of enrollments for the state/institution type) for the cohort is 65 percent or higher. Using this approach, we produced tables showing results for 49, 44 and 39 states of the 50 states for four-year public, two-year public, and four-year private nonprofit institutions, respectively. Table ii, below, shows states included in the tables presented for each institutional type in this supplement to the national report.

Table ii. Representation of Each State in Results Tables by Institution Type

State Four-Year Public Two-Year Public Four-Year Private Nonprofit
Alabama X X X
Alaska †† *
Arizona X
Arkansas X X X
California X X X
Colorado X X X
Connecticut X X X
Delaware * X
District of Columbia * X
Florida X X X
Georgia X X X
Hawaii X X
Idaho X X *
Illinois X X X
Indiana * X
Iowa X X X
Kansas X X
Kentucky X X X
Louisiana X X
Maine X X X
Maryland X X X
Massachusetts X X X
Michigan X X
Minnesota X X X
Mississippi X X
Missouri X X X
Montana X X X
Nebraska X X X
Nevada X *
New Hampshire X X X
New Jersey X X X
New Mexico X X
New York X X X
North Carolina X X X
North Dakota X X X
Ohio X X X
Oklahoma X
Oregon X X X
Pennsylvania X X X
Rhode Island * * X
South Carolina X X X
South Dakota X X
Tennessee X X X
Texas X X X
Utah X * X
Vermont X * X
Virginia X X X
Washington X X X
West Virginia X
Wisconsin X X X
Wyoming * X

X Included in report
* Fewer than three institutions
(blank) Lower than 65% coverage
†† Results are not reported because the cohort includes both two-year and four-year enrollments.

To further guide readers regarding coverage, and consequently the relative confidence with which results should be interpreted, we grouped the states according to the following three levels of coverage:

  • Low coverage: States with coverage between 65 and 79 percent
  • Medium coverage: States with coverage between 80 and 89 percent
  • High Coverage: States with coverage of 90 percent or higher

Results

Appendix A: Coverage

Appendix B: Unique Student Headcounts by State and Institution Type

Appendix B provides unique student headcounts by state for each institution type. The final data set was created, drawing from the full cohort of all students enrolled in each sector and state, selecting out students identified as first-time-in-college, and finally excluding students identified as nondegree-seeking and applying a few other conditions. (For further detail on the definition of degree-seeking status and other exclusions applied, please see Completing College: A National View, Appendix A at Signature Report 12.) Counts from the final data set (Fall 2010 First-Time Degree-Seeking Cohort) are further broken out by student enrollment status, age at first entry, and gender.

Table B1. Total Counts for Students Who Started at Four-Year Public Institutions by Origin State

State Fall 2010 Cohort
Total Exclusively Full-Time Students Exclusively Part-Time Students Mixed Enrollment Students Age 20 or Younger at First Entry Over Age 20-24 at First Entry Over Age 24 at First Entry Women Men
States with High Historical Coverage (90% or higher)
Alabama 22,217 9,939 802 11,474 18,731 1,168 2,317 11,414 9,300
Alaska †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† ††
Arizona 22,152 10,609 643 10,898 19,083 1,356 1,709 11,140 9,607
Arkansas 18,588 7,294 1,063 10,229 15,269 1,126 2,191 9,778 8,109
California 83,043 39,868 1,458 41,714 75,724 3,050 4,219 42,602 32,633
Colorado 28,052 12,857 1,409 13,780 23,030 1,811 3,206 12,654 12,266
Connecticut 9,766 6,204 262 3,300 8,932 251 582 4,564 4,315
Delaware * * * * * * * * *
District of Columbia * * * * * * * * *
Florida 126,457 24,677 19,595 82,171 94,149 10,060 22,244 69,606 52,823
Georgia 36,296 14,792 831 20,672 32,148 1,426 2,721 19,074 14,510
Hawaii 3,618 1,578 317 1,723 2,780 239 597 1,931 1,443
Idaho 9,234 3,177 679 5,375 7,136 652 1,444 4,627 3,856
Illinois 28,358 18,412 727 9,217 22,390 2,914 3,054 12,898 12,208
Iowa 11,141 7,453 178 3,509 10,119 471 523 5,718 5,312
Kansas 13,205 6,514 593 6,097 10,529 1,104 1,572 6,467 5,933
Kentucky 20,204 10,053 664 9,484 17,672 827 1,703 10,709 8,702
Louisiana 26,528 9,826 1,121 15,578 22,933 1,016 2,578 14,117 10,679
Maine 5,649 2,400 457 2,791 4,348 316 984 3,088 2,559
Maryland 22,122 9,745 3,062 9,305 14,058 2,020 6,043 9,607 10,425
Massachusetts 17,423 10,597 856 5,970 14,926 660 1,827 8,256 7,687
Michigan 43,155 21,408 1,304 20,438 37,449 2,404 3,299 22,111 18,688
Minnesota 22,231 9,272 603 12,355 19,696 1,160 1,353 11,612 9,662
Mississippi 10,473 5,887 239 4,346 8,982 561 929 5,488 4,497
Missouri 24,468 11,012 891 12,565 21,347 1,091 2,029 13,208 10,611
Montana 7,834 4,095 380 3,356 5,725 668 1,441 3,531 3,710
Nebraska 9,516 4,299 219 4,998 8,714 197 605 4,669 4,300
Nevada 16,748 2,717 4,030 9,992 10,340 1,492 4,883 8,854 7,485
New Hampshire 5,650 4,034 186 1,429 5,112 155 380 2,952 2,344
New Mexico 10,700 4,952 848 4,898 8,439 717 1,543 5,738 4,542
New York 52,383 27,563 2,209 22,597 44,551 2,508 5,312 25,393 21,704
North Carolina 33,077 19,806 511 12,757 29,526 1,284 2,266 17,005 13,413
North Dakota 7,215 3,289 280 3,642 6,267 312 635 3,240 3,336
Ohio 62,129 27,839 2,933 31,337 51,321 3,606 7,196 31,536 27,149
Oklahoma 26,620 10,807 2,531 13,279 16,356 5,910 4,341 13,221 11,875
Oregon 12,845 2,861 413 9,569 11,440 395 1,009 6,570 5,385
Pennsylvania 52,434 33,669 1,251 17,509 46,616 2,157 3,653 26,126 24,095
Rhode Island * * * * * * * * *
South Carolina 18,491 11,773 304 6,413 17,107 570 810 10,183 7,553
South Dakota 5,826 2,588 324 2,914 4,846 311 669 2,884 2,635
Tennessee 23,301 10,605 908 11,785 20,191 900 2,209 12,059 9,741
Texas 74,235 25,633 3,435 45,162 62,533 3,930 7,767 38,118 33,003
Utah 28,282 6,799 2,856 18,615 22,971 2,083 3,228 14,188 12,831
Vermont 4,172 2,840 151 1,180 3,804 129 239 2,228 1,942
Virginia 31,668 21,099 676 9,893 28,449 1,240 1,976 15,714 13,493
Washington 29,818 9,922 2,352 17,541 23,454 1,609 4,734 14,948 13,260
West Virginia 13,099 6,560 565 5,973 10,870 624 1,603 6,462 6,045
Wisconsin 30,954 16,396 1,597 12,956 26,760 1,393 2,799 15,480 13,459
Wyoming * * * * * * * * *
States with Medium Historical Coverage (80% ~ 89%)
New Jersey 21,141 14,061 599 6,481 18,373 992 1,775 10,589 9,988


NOTE: Counts represent unique students.
* Fewer than three institutions.
†† Results are not reported because the cohort includes both two-year and four-year enrollments.

Table B2. Total Counts for Students Who Started at Two-Year Public Institutions, by Origin State

State Fall 2010 Cohort
Total Exclusively Full-Time Students Exclusively Part-Time Students Mixed Enrollment Students Age 20 or Younger at First Entry Over Age 20-24 at First Entry Over Age 24 at First Entry Women Men
States with High Historical Coverage (90% or higher)
Arkansas 9,351 3,046 894 5,411 4,922 917 3,206 5,129 3,512
California 181,994 20,534 18,531 142,915 136,647 13,731 31,370 87,967 81,016
Colorado 19,120 4,547 2,866 11,707 10,511 2,126 6,480 9,295 8,007
Connecticut 10,323 1,557 1,836 6,930 6,727 1,119 2,474 4,939 4,223
Florida 25,404 4,600 3,601 17,203 17,921 2,405 5,027 14,015 10,601
Georgia 32,815 8,357 2,786 21,672 15,068 4,951 12,795 17,649 12,398
Hawaii 4,750 1,164 551 3,035 3,207 419 1,124 2,282 1,992
Idaho 4,954 1,332 567 3,054 2,620 579 1,751 2,550 2,059
Illinois 55,870 13,631 6,507 35,722 39,537 4,787 11,523 28,601 24,124
Indiana * * * * * * * * *
Iowa 20,925 7,566 1,124 12,235 15,158 1,542 4,214 10,938 9,469
Kentucky 15,731 3,618 2,171 9,938 9,003 1,581 5,147 9,219 6,511
Maine 3,071 852 320 1,900 1,815 356 897 1,508 1,559
Maryland 26,320 5,527 3,188 17,604 18,081 2,284 5,950 13,222 10,420
Massachusetts 18,598 3,757 2,789 12,052 11,020 2,501 5,066 9,322 7,886
Michigan 41,778 7,455 5,771 28,549 27,178 3,685 10,900 21,210 18,361
Minnesota 25,369 6,811 2,193 16,364 16,000 2,784 6,536 12,892 12,474
Mississippi 18,085 7,388 570 10,126 12,125 1,958 4,001 9,614 7,112
Missouri 20,870 5,074 2,197 13,598 13,572 1,890 5,409 11,702 8,575
Nebraska 9,140 2,711 691 5,739 5,870 859 2,409 4,697 4,068
Nevada * * * * * * * * *
New Hampshire 3,133 694 473 1,966 2,102 342 687 1,474 1,476
New Jersey 36,021 10,441 2,694 22,886 24,916 3,667 7,394 17,875 15,743
New Mexico 5,124 1,773 403 2,948 3,209 557 1,358 2,684 2,146
New York 67,555 24,584 2,711 40,261 48,421 7,274 11,462 32,209 28,977
North Carolina 43,841 11,130 4,116 28,592 25,760 4,093 13,971 24,181 18,184
North Dakota 1,319 647 ** 634 1,043 119 158 547 652
Ohio 35,602 7,732 3,677 24,191 18,588 3,963 13,047 19,142 14,558
Oregon 17,935 3,319 1,635 12,979 9,045 1,844 7,039 8,575 7,880
Pennsylvania 28,223 6,854 3,145 18,224 18,148 3,213 6,833 14,281 11,661
Rhode Island * * * * * * * * *
South Carolina 21,108 5,137 1,933 14,037 13,574 2,037 5,493 11,896 8,468
Tennessee 19,818 4,383 2,236 13,199 11,447 2,158 6,212 10,948 7,438
Texas 111,722 19,779 11,366 80,570 74,314 10,952 26,449 59,654 46,503
Vermont * * * * * * * * *
Virginia 31,887 6,231 3,790 21,866 22,172 2,674 7,039 16,638 13,576
Washington 31,771 9,851 1,332 20,584 20,587 2,793 8,387 15,777 13,130
Wisconsin 18,553 6,413 2,045 10,092 10,239 2,056 6,257 8,409 8,696
Wyoming 4,180 1,843 176 2,161 2,975 361 840 2,183 1,673
States with Medium Historical Coverage (80% ~ 89%)
Alabama 15,189 3,818 1,040 10,331 9,836 1,573 3,778 8,368 6,228
Kansas 13,413 4,228 1,090 8,096 9,402 1,136 2,866 6,793 5,902
Montana 1,468 606 89 774 783 174 510 797 613
Utah * * * * * * * * *
States with Low Historical Coverage (65%~79%)
South Dakota 1,343 945 ** 370 782 211 343 545 684


*
Fewer than three institutions.
** Fewer than 50 students in subgroup.

Table B3. Total Counts for Students Who Started at Four-Year Private Nonprofit Institutions, by Origin State

State Fall 2010 Cohort
Total Exclusively Full-Time Students Exclusively Part-Time Students Mixed Enrollment Students Age 20 or Younger at First Entry Over Age 20-24 at First Entry Over Age 24 at First Entry Women Men
States with High Historical Coverage (90% or higher)
Alabama 4,167 2,259 89 1,819 3,582 203 369 2,301 1,698
Alaska * * * * * * * * *
California 28,017 18,493 632 8,888 22,122 2,160 3,656 15,079 10,848
Colorado 2,398 1,283 207 909 1,663 102 632 1,387 961
Connecticut 8,064 6,276 194 1,594 7,169 381 505 4,345 3,238
Delaware 1318 398 169 751 824 113 380 696 620
District of Columbia 8,414 6,180 210 2,022 7,323 275 813 4,561 3,167
Georgia 11,024 6,128 243 4,653 9,467 610 940 6,211 4,139
Idaho * * * * * * * * *
Illinois 27,434 17,801 934 8,695 22,166 1,574 3,684 14,206 11,585
Indiana 12,163 7,129 282 3,931 10,149 319 1,667 6,443 5,338
Iowa 8,301 5,357 172 2,769 7,414 251 624 4,214 3,862
Louisiana 3,411 2,325 109 977 2,974 141 296 2,089 1,272
Maine 3,207 2,447 106 654 2,928 96 179 1,877 1,299
Maryland 6,697 4,807 432 1,458 5,664 189 838 3,733 2,475
Massachusetts 34,180 25,472 1,150 7,550 28,416 1,679 4,007 18,583 13,368
Minnesota 9,990 6,346 232 3,413 8,726 415 831 5,464 4,180
Missouri 16,450 8,172 1,298 6,968 10,629 1,330 4,475 8,576 7,192
Nebraska 3,847 2,486 93 1,267 2,970 119 757 2,080 1,653
New Hampshire 4,219 1,830 200 2,189 3,506 169 541 2,280 1,803
New Jersey 7,624 5,006 337 2,278 6,374 307 918 4,123 3,097
New York 73,116 47,706 2,031 23,372 59,148 4,919 8,971 38,117 30,183
Ohio 23,446 14,575 788 8,079 20,263 859 2,299 11,647 10,600
Oregon 4,285 2,745 67 1,473 3,835 136 311 2,340 1,595
Pennsylvania 42,597 30,538 1,201 10,858 38,193 1,136 3,195 22,910 17,515
Rhode Island 6,224 4,695 106 1,422 5,426 332 458 3,038 3,047
Texas 17,506 10,249 664 6,588 14,811 775 1,899 9,348 7,265
Utah 6,518 3,009 77 3,432 5,214 305 999 3,344 2,957
Vermont 2,644 1,783 72 788 2,313 138 190 1,125 1,482
Virginia 14,471 7,218 1,121 6,131 10,193 635 3,643 7,692 6,218
Washington 5,849 3,982 140 1,726 5,250 160 435 3,364 2,215
Wisconsin 8,007 5,190 214 2,600 7,260 247 473 4,420 3,170
States with Medium Historical Coverage (80% ~ 89%)
Arkansas 2,638 1,750 154 734 2,277 134 226 1,439 1,092
Florida 13,142 7,743 683 4,672 9,250 749 3,132 7,386 5,101
Kentucky 5,743 2,695 170 2,878 5,107 178 458 3,101 2,449
North Carolina 12,417 8,286 191 3,938 11,180 421 805 6,638 5,086
North Dakota 777 410 63 304 613 ** 121 422 350
South Carolina 6,088 3,677 128 2,283 5,376 291 417 3,531 2,326
States with Low Historical Coverage (65%~79%)
Montana 762 484 ** 252 677 ** 55 431 304
Tennessee 10,579 6,304 282 3,993 9,357 365 840 5,627 4,364

* Fewer than three institutions.
** Fewer than 50 students in subgroup
.