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Despite Challenges, Positive Trends Emerge for Higher Education

by NSC Blog | Jun 6, 2022 | Research Reports, Research Services |

Honoring Staff, Faculty and Students on National Higher Education Day, June 6

In recognition of National Higher Education Day, June 6th, the National Student Clearinghouse is proud to honor the staff, faculty, and students who show their commitment to learning every day. The last several years have certainly presented a challenging environment for higher education. Yet, the dedication of the higher education community has encouraged millions of students to pursue their academic and career goals.

Working with 3,600 post-secondary institutions, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center compiles student enrollment, mobility, and completion data, among other outcomes to help education leaders to better understand student pathways to help students succeed. Some positive trends recorded this year include:


During the 2020-2021 academic year, more than 944,000 students, aged 18 to 64 with some college, no credential, re-enrolled in postsecondary institutions, as reported in the most recent Some College, No Credential report. Of this group, more than 60,400 earned their first-ever post-secondary degree. Furthermore, 531,700 students were still enrolled after enrolling the previous year.


According to the latest Completing College report, the national six-year college completion rate reached 62.2% in 2021, a 1.2% increase over the 2014 cohort. Students from all starting institution sectors saw increases in completion rates, with the largest increase of 1.5 percentage points among community colleges starters. Completion rates also increased for Latinx and Black students, with the largest jump among Black students, up 1.9%. Further, adult learners — those over the age of 24 at first entry — had the largest increase, up 2.5%, in their college completion rates.

Spring 2022 Enrollment

First-time, first-year enrollment increased this spring 4.2% or 13,700 students, per the Spring 2022 Current Term Enrollment Estimates Report. Nearly 340,000 freshmen enrolled for the first time this spring, with nearly six out of 10 starting at a community college. Community college freshmen increased by 6,000 students or 3.1%. This spring, public four-year colleges reported the largest freshmen increase of 7,300 students or a 10.8% bump.

National Higher Education Day began in 2015 with the goal of promoting higher education for everyone, with a specific focus on accessibility. Thank you to all the faculty, staff and students for all you do on this National Higher Education Day and everyday!

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Six-Year Completion Rates by Starting Institution Type: 2006-2015 Entering Cohorts