National Six-Year and Eight-Year College Completion Rates Reach New Highs, 59.7% and 61.8%, Respectively
Completion Rates Increased Across All Types of Institutions
The overall national six-year completion rate reached 59.7 percent for the fall 2013 entering cohort, and the eight-year completion rate increased to 61.8 percent for the 2011 entering cohort, according to the Completing College 2019 National Report, a newly released report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. These rates are new highs since the Research Center started tracking these data in 2006.
The completion rates of the more than 2.3 million students who entered postsecondary education for the first time in the fall of 2013 increased across all types of starting institutions. Public four-year; public two-year; and private, nonprofit four-year starters, also have reached their highest levels–67%, 41%, and 77%, respectively. The completions rate of for-profit, four-year starters jumped 5.1 percentage points to 42.4%, on a 24% smaller cohort size, and surpassed the public, two-year institution completion rate for the first time since the 2007 cohort.
“The completion rate has been on a steady rise since the 2009 cohort year as the post-recession cohorts of first-time entering students have trended younger and more full-time,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “In addition, the results suggest that institutional efforts to improve retention, progression and success from the start of each student’s college career are increasingly effective.”
Other Report Highlights include:
- The national college completion rate continues to rise, but more slowly in recent years.
- First-time entering college students are becoming increasingly traditional in demographics and education pathways.
- An additional five percent of the 2011 entering student cohort completed during their seventh and eighth years.
- More progress made among older students (age 20 and over) generally, and Hispanics in particular.
- For the first time, the report includes analysis of majors at graduation, showing racial/ethnic and gender disparities.
Following this national report, state-by-state completion rates for the 2013 cohort will be available in the spring of 2020.
Six-Year Completion Rates by Starting Institution Type: 2006-2013 Entering Cohorts
“The completion rate has been on a steady rise since the 2009 cohort year as the post-recession cohorts of first-time entering students have trended younger and more full-time. In addition, the results suggest that institutional efforts to improve retention, progression and success from the start of each student’s college career are increasingly effective.”
Executive Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center