92.5% of Full-Time College Students Show 'Persistence' and Stay in School, Says New Snapshot Report™ from the National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center™

Dec 08, 2011, 10:54 ET from National Student Clearinghouse

HERNDON, Va., Dec. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to a new series of Snapshot Reports by the National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center™, 92.5% of full-time college students stay or "persist" in school from one term to the next (overall, 84.7% of students persist). For the students studied by the Research Center, this means they either continued enrollment during the next term after fall 2010 or completed a degree, even if either occurred at a different U.S. higher education institution.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released this report today along with two other Snapshot Reports, the first set in the series. Planned to be released throughout the year, these reports are succinct and graphic, providing timely examinations of national student enrollment trends at the college level. Using student-level college enrollment data provided exclusively to the Clearinghouse by its more than 3,300 participating institutions — reflecting national coverage of 93% of student enrollments — the reports are unique snapshots in time that reveal emerging college enrollment patterns and student mobility pathways.

"Much has been made of college completion rates lately, and President Obama wants to add an additional eight million college graduates to current levels by 2020," stated Dr. Donald Hossler, Executive Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. "We are able to provide researchers, the policy community, government entities, and both the higher education community and the public with a clear-cut depiction of what students are doing and where they are going in their quest to pursue an advanced degree. This type of data informs policy on a national, regional and local scale, and can help universities pinpoint what they need to do in order to increase graduation rates."

"In particular, persistence rates can be especially tricky," explains Hossler. "A student may inadvertently be counted as a drop-out when in fact he or she is enrolled in another institution. This is, however, not the 1960s, and our students are not dropping out. Our data allows for this discrepancy, as it can track a student from one U.S. institution to another. Thus, we have found that most college students persist in their education, to the tune of 84.7% of all students enrolled returning from one term to the next."

In addition to student persistence rates at college, two more Snapshot Reports measure the "mobility" and "concurrent enrollment" of college students. Mobility is the rate at which students attended more than one institution during the 2010-2011 study period. Concurrent enrollment is about students who have overlapping enrollments at more than one institution, in the same study period.

 Highlights of the two reports include:

  • Overall, 7.7% of students attended more than one institution in 2010-2011.  The most mobile students were those with both full- and part-time statuses, with 17.2% of them attending more than one institution in the study period. The majority of mobile students (55.8%) attended a combination of 2-and 4-year institutions. Of public and private institutions, 67.9% of mobile students attended only public institutions.
  • The highest rate of concurrency was among students with a combination of full- and part-time statuses (7.3%). The majority of concurrently enrolled students (55.1%) attended both a 2- and a 4-year institution at the same time. Of the public and private institutions, most students (75.7%) who were concurrently enrolled attended only public institutions.

"Our Snapshot Reports are a useful addition, in a simple and eye-catching format, to our national research efforts," stated Rick Torres, President and CEO of the National Student Clearinghouse. "During its first year, the Research Center developed its Signature Report series, shedding light on enrollment patterns and providing valuable insight on students' postsecondary access and other success outcomes. The Snapshot Reports, with their short and concise format, provide a simple yet highly useful way to describe student enrollment patterns."

A second Signature Report, based on student college transfer information, will be released early in 2012. The Research Center is working on its next Snapshot Reports, which are released year round.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center is the research arm of the National Student Clearinghouse. The Research Center collaborates with higher education institutions, states, school districts, high schools, and educational organizations as part of a national effort to better inform education leaders and policymakers. Through accurate longitudinal data outcomes reporting, the Research Center enables better educational policy decisions leading to improved student outcomes. To learn more, visit http://research.studentclearinghouse.org.

The National Student Clearinghouse (a non-profit formed in 1993) is the unique and trusted source for higher education enrollment and degree verifications. The Clearinghouse serves as a single point of contact for the collection and timely exchange of accurate and comprehensive enrollment, degree and certificate records on behalf of its more than 3,300 participating higher education institutions, which represent 96% of all students in public and private U.S. institutions. The Clearinghouse also provides thousands of high schools and districts with continuing collegiate enrollment, progression, and completion statistics on their alumni.

Through its verification and reporting services, the Clearinghouse saves higher education institutions cumulatively nearly four hundred million dollars annually. Most Clearinghouse services are provided to colleges and universities at little or no charge, including enhanced transcript and research services, enabling institutions to redistribute limited staff and budget resources to more important student service efforts. All Clearinghouse services are operated in full compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

In addition, the Clearinghouse provides accurate, FERPA compliant verifications to student loan providers, employers, student credit issuers, the U.S. Department of Education, and others who access its registry more than half a billion times annually.

For more information, visit www.studentclearinghouse.org.   

SOURCE National Student Clearinghouse