Fall 2010 Cohort Outcomes: Decline in College Completion Rates Has Ended for Great Recession Cohorts

Fall 2010 Cohort Outcomes: Decline in College Completion Rates Recovers

by | Dec 5, 2016 | Research Services |

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Signature Report, Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates – Fall 2010 Cohort, recent declines in the overall national six-year completion rates have ended.

The effects of the Great Recession on higher education included enrollment surges, followed by declines in completion rates, for the 2008 and 2009 entering cohorts. Even though each of these cohorts had more students graduating than the prior cohort, completion rates had declined at the national level for every institution type and all student subgroups.

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“We can expect this nationwide recovery in college completion rates
to continue in upcoming years.”

Doug Shapiro
Executive Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

For the fall 2010 cohort, the overall national six-year completion rate rebounded to 54.8 percent, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from the 2009 cohort. This comprehensive rate includes all students, including those enrolling part-time and full-time at all two-year and four-year institutions.

Six-Year Outcomes by Enrollment Intensity

Six-Year Outcomes by Enrollment Intensity

However, large differences in completion rates continue to exist based on student enrollment behaviors, such as part-time and mixed enrollment intensities, delayed entry, older students, choice of institution type, and transfer and mobility among multiple institutions. The effects of these factors on completion rates will continue to depend upon the future states of affordability, demographics, and the labor market that influence when, where, and how students attend college.

“We can expect this nationwide recovery in college completion rates to continue in upcoming years,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “But the rising tide of outcomes should not lull institutions into complacency. There is still ample room for improvements and campuses should look carefully at their results for specific student populations to find them.”

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