Student Mobility – 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.
Nearly 10 Percent of All Students Attend Multiple Institutions in a Single Year
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. The postsecondary student one-year mobility rate is the percentage of students, across all levels of study, who enrolled in more than one institution within a single academic year (including summer and concurrent enrollments). It provides a current indicator of the likely double-counting of institution-based annual enrollment reporting.
One-Year Mobility Across Sectors
Student one-year mobility rates have implications for enrollment management and education policy, raising the stakes around issues such as academic advising and evaluation of transfer credits. In each year, nearly three-fourths of all mobile students had at least one enrollment at a two-year public institution. Of all students who attended multiple institutions in 2014-15, over 40 percent moved between two-year public institutions and four-year public institutions (in either direction). In 2014-15, the share of mobility accounted for by student churn among two-year public institutions diminished slightly from 18.4 percent to 17.5 percent.
Understanding One-Year Mobility
Enrollment Intensity: Over half of the students who enrolled in more than one institution in 2014-15 had mixed enrollment intensities. An example would be the student who enrolled full time at a four-year institution in the fall and spring terms, and then enrolled for a single course at a community college over the summer.
Program Level: Students whose enrollments were all at the undergraduate level accounted for 92 percent of mobile students. Another 5.3 percent of mobile students moved between undergraduate and graduate levels at their different institutions, while 2.8 percent enrolled only at the graduate level in each of their institutions.
State: Student mobility also has a geographic dimension. In 2014-15, 20.6 percent of the mobile students attended institutions in more than one state. (Students with any enrollment in a multi-state institution are excluded from both the numerator and denominator of this calculation.)
Mobility Rates Higher Among Younger Students
In each year, students in the 20 and under age group had the highest mobility rates, followed by students in the >20 to 24 age group. In 2014-15, 38.8 percent of all mobile students were in the 20 and under age group, 29.8 percent were in the >20 to 24 age group, and 31.4 percent were in the over 24 age group.
Mobility Rates Higher Among Women
In each of the years shown, the percentage of women attending more than one institution was about one and a quarter percentage points higher than the rate for men. In 2014-15, women accounted for 60.1 percent of mobile students.