Tough Slog for Part-Time Students

"What difference does a year, two or three make in how many students, even first-timers attending full-time, take to complete a credential? The latest National Student Clearinghouse report on yearly success and progress rates has the answer: a lot. Attendance intensity also makes a big difference," Community College Daily reports. 

"The official graduation rate captured in the U.S. Education Department’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) — which is for first-time, full-time students — is higher for four-year public institutions than for community colleges. There are many well-understood and documented reasons for the discrepancy, including those that are institutionally as well as student-based.

One factor is that four-year public colleges and universities often have highly selective admissions policies, including at flagship institutions. Four-year institutions also enroll more traditional students than community colleges. One of the characteristics of traditional students is they attend full-time. Others are that they are recent high school graduates, financially dependent on parent(s), likely better prepared for college than older students and less likely to work full-time.

Open admissions institutions like community colleges enroll far more nontraditional students. They are more likely to attend college part-time. They are also older, more likely to be independent and have dependents of their own, more likely to have taken some time off between high school and college and work full-time. Unfortunately, the very factors that define nontraditional students are associated with being at risk of not completing.

Attending full-time, rather than part-time, makes a huge difference in students’ progress through higher education and whether or not they graduate, at least within six-years of starting. Overall, within six years, students at degree-granting institutions who attend full-time are twice as likely as their part-time counterparts to graduate either from their starting institution or one they transferred to (63.6 percent compared to 31.8 percent, respectively)."

NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 5/16/2018

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