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Less Than Half Of College Students Attained Degrees In The Last 6 Years, New Study Shows

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The National Center for Education Statistics this week released findings of a longitudinal study that followed the attainment and persistence rates of a nationally representative sample of 19,000 American students. The study, titled "Persistence and Attainment of 2003-04 Beginning Postsecondary Students: After 6 Years" (PDF) looked at the behavior of students who enrolled in an institution of higher education for the first time in the 2003-04 school year and reflects data collected over the past six years.

The report's authors focused on rates of completion at institutions where students first enrolled as well as on rates of completion overall at two- and four-year schools. This report marks a third review of respondents' progress.

The report found that, within six years of enrollment:

  • 49 percent of students attained a certificate, associate or bachelors degree from some institution
  • 31 percent of students received a bachelor's degree from some institution
  • 35 percent of students had not received any type of degree and were no longer enrolled at any institution
  • 12 percent of students who initially enrolled in two-year institutions went on to attain a bachelor's degree
  • 46 percent of students who initially enrolled in two-year institutions did not receive any type of degree and were no longer enrolled at any institution
  • 50 percent of students who enrolled in a four-year college attained a degree from that college

For more findings and details on methodology, check out NCES.

Do these conclusions surprise you? Share your thoughts in the comments section.