Here are three reports you should know about this month.
- The completion rate for community college students continues to edge up, according to a new National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) Research Center report. For nearly one-third of students who enrolled in college in 2012, the journey started at a public two-year college. Of those students, 39 percent completed a degree within six years. Seventy-one percent did so at the college where they started and about 29 percent did so at another institution. And in other positive news, the overall completion rate of full- and part-time students at all colleges and universities increased by 1.5 percentage points, reaching about 58 percent. That’s the highest rate since the NSC Research Center started tracking the data six years ago.
- In other completion news, data from the U.S. Department of Education support what education advocates have said for years about completion rates for community college students: They increase substantially when you look beyond the two-year window traditionally used to gauge the rates. About 13.6 percent of full-time, first-time students who enrolled in public two-year colleges completed a degree or certificate within two years. The rate increases to 25.3 percent when looking through a three-year window, and it jumps to 30.9 percent when it’s doubled to four years.
- A report from Veterans Education Success (VES) reveals that military veterans in postsecondary education are more likely to earn an associate degree or certificate than their non-veteran peers, but they tend to take longer to complete. The report analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Education’s longitudinal Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) study, which surveyed first-time students twice between 2011 and 2014. Data show that 28 percent of veterans had earned a certificate or associate degree in that timeframe, compared to 23 percent of non-veterans. Just 20 percent of veterans who first enrolled at a postsecondary institution in 2011-12 had left without a degree by 2014, compared to 40 percent of non-veterans. VES also recommends a variety of supports for student veterans, including campus-based daycare to help veterans who are single parents, targeted grants and work-study programs to help veterans supplement their GI Bill benefits, and improved accessibility of the Veterans Administration and campus-based health services to help students with disabilities.
Note: The AACC 21st Century Center will next be updated on January 2.