Information Brief 2012-21

Bachelor’s Degree Completion Rates by Second-Year Re-Enrollment Status

among ACT-tested high school graduates who immediately enrolled in a four-year institution

For seven years, we tracked the progress of a group of ACT-tested 2003 high school graduates who enrolled in a four-year college in fall 2003. This brief focuses on the bachelor’s degree completion rates of these students four, five, six, and seven years later in relation to the students’ re-enrollment status one year after starting college (in fall 2004).

As shown below, across years 4 through 7, students who had returned to the same four-year institution for their second year completed bachelor’s degrees at higher rates than students who had re-enrolled at a different four-year institution; this gap, however, narrowed over time. For students who re-enrolled in a two-year institution in year 2 or those who did not re-enroll at any institution in year 2, degree completion rates steadily increased over time, but by the end of year 7, more than three-fourths of these students had not yet completed a bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor’s Degree Completion Rates (Years 4 through 7) by Year 2 Re-Enrollment Status

YearReturned to same 4-year institutionEnrolled in a different 4-year institutionEnrolled in a 2-year institutionDid not enroll
4422842
56555124
67263199
775682313

Note: Based on National Student Clearinghouse data for a stratified random sample of 18,860 ACT-tested 2003 high school graduates who enrolled in a four-year college in fall 2003. The sample was weighted to be representative of the entire 2003 ACT-tested graduating class who immediately enrolled in college. For students enrolled in multiple institutions in fall 2003, initial institution type was based on the institution from which the student ultimately earned the highest degree by the end of the seven-year study and/or in which the student had enrolled for the greatest number of fall terms during the study. In the sample, less than 1 percent of the students were initially enrolled in more than one institution.

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