Yearly Success and Progress Rates

February 9, 2021

The steady growth in the six-year college completion rate started to slow down for full-time starters in fall 2014, and the rate declined notably for part-time starters.

Full-time starters at community colleges earned a credential at the highest rate in six years (46.5% by year six) whereas the stop-out rate increased sharply for their part-time counterparts from a year ago.

The persistence disadvantage in part-time entering students appears to be worsening, with an increasing stop-out rate early in their career.

The Yearly Success and Progress Rates report goes beyond traditional student outcome measures by showing year-by-year rates of retention, persistence, transfer, completion, and stop-out. The report is designed to help institutions and states better identify and inform effective intervention points to increase student success.

The latest data presents yearly academic progress for approximately 2.3 million individuals who began college for the first time in fall 2014 with the intent to earn a credential. It shows the highest level of academic progress made, broken out by the type of starting institution and enrollment intensity at entry.

A new interactive data visualizer is available below to view longitudinal trends at both national and state-levels. The outcome categories are modeled after those used in the Student Achievement Measure (SAM) and can be used as the most current national and state-level benchmarks for institutions participating in SAM.

National Highlights

  • Among students enrolling full time in fall 2014, 45.4 percent had completed a postsecondary credential by the end of year four, while 22.9 percent were no longer enrolled. By the end of year six, 65.4 percent had graduated, including 10.5 percent who did so after transferring to another institution, while 26.6 percent had left college without earning a credential (Figure 1).
  • For students entering part time, 19.4 percent had completed a credential by the end of year four, while 49 percent were no longer enrolled. By the end of year six, 31.7 percent had graduated — 22.3 percent from the starting institution and 9.4 percent from elsewhere — while 54.4 percent had left college without earning a credential (Figure 2).
  • The retention and persistence disadvantage in students entering part time appears to be worsening. Their stop-out rate by the end of year six increased from 1.5 to 2 times the rate of their full-time counterparts, 2009 to 2014. The gaps in stop-out performance start early in one’s academic career (Tab 1, data dashboard).

Current Report

Figures 1 & 2

Yearly Progress and Success Rates Within Six Years of Enrolling

Beginning Postsecondary Students Each Fall, 2009 to 2014 

Compare cohort outcomes by starting institution and enrollment intensity, using the tabs at the top and the drop-down list in each tab.

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