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New PDP Insights Dashboard Reveals the Pandemic’s Effect on First-Year Momentum Toward College Degree Completion

by NSC Blog | Jan 31, 2024 | Postsecondary Data Partnership, Research Reports, Research Services

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has released its new interactive Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP) Insights dashboard, which highlights year-over-year changes in credit completion ratio (CCR), credit accumulation rates (CAR), and credit hours attempted. This analysis allows institutions to understand the impact of the pandemic on students’ first-year momentum toward degree completion.

  • CCR is the ratio of credits earned to credits attempted in a student’s first year of enrollment and measures the efficiency of a student’s progress toward earning a credential.
  • CAR is an aggregate metric that identifies what share of students surpassed credit-hour thresholds within their first year.
  • Credit hours attempted are the total credit hours a student enrolled in during their first year, which provides more context to the CCR and CAR outcome metrics.

PDP empowers institutions by providing comprehensive data, easier analysis, centralized reporting functions, and interactive visualizations with benchmark functionality. The report from January 2024 using PDP data analyzes the CCR, CAR, and credit hours attempted by first-time students who enrolled in a PDP institution in the fall semester of 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22.

Key Takeaways

  • Since the pandemic, there has been an overall decrease in CAR and CCR for full- and part-time students in their first year primarily due to students attempting fewer credits.
  • Full-time students in the most recent 2021-22 cohort attempted an average of two fewer credits than those in the 2019-20 cohort and earned less than three-quarters of credits attempted in their first year.
  • The patterns of pandemic-related decline varied among different racial and ethnic groups, primarily affecting Black, Hispanic, and Asian students. Younger students under 21 also saw declines in CCR and CAR during the pandemic.

A More In-Depth Look

The interactive tables in the report give you an in-depth perspective on the pandemic’s impact on students’ early momentum metrics. The tables allow you to look at the CCR and CAR for both full- and part-time students based on institution type, demographics (i.e., race, gender, and age), and field of major.

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