More Than 50 Percent of Students Beginning College Part Time in 2013 Left College Without Earning a Credential Six Years Later, According to New Research Report
Part-Time Student Stop-Out Rate Roughly Twice the Rate as Full-Time Students
The national, six-year college completion rate continues to grow but there is a disadvantage for students who first enroll on a part-time basis, according to the latest Yearly Success and Progress Rates report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
Among first-time, degree-seeking students who began college part-time in fall 2013, one in four left in their first year, and by the end of spring 2019 more than half left college without earning a credential. This includes those who started at four-year institutions and at two-year institutions, where even part-timers, especially those who later switched to full time, should have had enough time to finish.
For students entering part-time in fall 2013, 21.3 percent had completed a postsecondary credential by the end of year four, while 45.3 percent were no longer enrolled. By the end of year six, 34.2 percent had graduated, while 51.2 percent had left college without earning a credential (see Figure 2 below). The six-year graduation rate for part-time students is 1.2 percentage points higher than the rate for the 2012 cohort.
Among students enrolling full time, 45.4 percent had completed a postsecondary credential by the end of year four, and by the end of year six, 65.6 percent had graduated (see Figure 1). The latest six-year graduation rate is 1.3 percentage points higher compared to the 2012 cohort.
Between the 2009 and the 2013 cohorts, the six-year stop-out rate increased for part-time entering students (44.8% to 51.2%), while it dropped for full-time entering students (29.7% to 26.1%).
“With colleges and students under enormous stress because of Covid-19, it’s important for institutions and learners to keep in mind the unique challenges and needs of part-time students, even in normal times, to persist and graduate,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
The report also includes breakdowns for public and private two-year and four-year institutions, plus a 50-state data dashboard, which is available in the appendix. The outcome categories are modeled after those used in the Student Achievement Measure (SAM), and can be used as national and state-level benchmarks for institutions participating in SAM.
The Yearly Success and Progress Rates report goes beyond traditional student outcome measures by showing year-by-year rates of retention, persistence, transfer, completion and stop-out. The report is designed to help institutions and states better identify and inform effective interventions to increase student success.
“With colleges and students under enormous stress because of Covid-19, it’s important for institutions and learners to keep in mind the unique challenges and needs of part-time students, even in normal times, to persist and graduate.”
Executive Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center