New NCES Data Show Increase in Graduation Rates When Time to Complete Is Increased

Quick Takeaways:

  • For the 2013-14 academic year, differences in cost of attendance for first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking students who were awarded any grant aid varied by institutional sector. Public four-year institutions had the lowest average cost and net price at $19,022 and $12,094, respectively. Nonprofit four-year institutions had the highest average cost ($37,260 compared to an average cost of $27,250 for for-year nonprofits), but for-profit four-year institutions had the highest net price of the three sectors ($21,880 compared to $21,402 at nonprofit four-year institutions).
  • Nearly 60 percent of first-time, full-time students seeking a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent at four-year institutions in 2008 completed their degree within six years at the school where they began their studies (150 percent of the normal program completion time).
  • The data showed across-the-board increases when the graduation rates were based on 150 percent or 200 percent of normal program completion time rather than 100 percent.

By Brittany Hackett, Communications Staff

Graduation rates for first-time, full-time undergraduate students in 2010 increased significantly when the time students were tracked for program completion was increased from 100 percent of normal time to within 200 percent of normal time, according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) Institute of Education Studies (IES).

Using data from the winter 2014-15 data collection of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the report – which covers student financial aid, admissions, and graduation rates– also shows that though the average cost for first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking students who were awarded any grant aid in 2013-14 academic year was highest at nonprofit four-year institutions, for-profit four-year institutions had the highest net price.

Student Financial Aid and Admissions

The report compared data on the average academic year cost of attendance and the net price of attendance for first-time, full-time students who were awarded any grant aid for the 2013-14 academic year, which varied between institutions types. Public four-year institutions, for example, had an average cost of $19,022 and an average net price of $12,094. Private nonprofit institutions had an average cost of $37,260 and an average net price of $21,402, while private for-profits had an average cost of $27,250 and an average net price of $21,880.

Public two-year institutions had an average cost of $12,104 and an average net price of $7,393, while their private nonprofit counterparts had an average cost of $24,595 and an average net price of $18,848. Private for-profit two-year institutions had an average cost of $25,401 and an average net cost of $20,157. The average cost at less-than-two-year public institutions was $13,453 and the average net price was $8,842. For private, nonprofit less-than-two-year schools, the average cost was $21,896 and the average net cost was $17,266, while the average cost at private for-profit institutions was $26,444 and the average net cost was $21,655.

Regarding admissions and enrollment for the fall 2014, the overall total number of students admitted to a higher education institution was 5,369,086 and the total enrollment was 1,563,016, of which 1,518,992 students were enrolled full-time.

Gradation Rates

The data on graduation rates showed that 59.6 percent of first-time, full-time students seeking a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent at four-year institutions in 2008 completed their degree within six years at the school where they began their studies (150 percent of the normal program completion time). Students who attended public schools had a graduation rate of 58.5 percent, while students at private nonprofit schools had a rate of 65.4 percent. Students at private for-profit schools had a graduation rate of 26.5 percent.

The six-year graduation rate among community college students in the 2011 cohort was 30.7 percent, with the highest rate – 59.7 percent – occurring among students at private for-profit institutions. Public two-year institutions had a graduation rate of 21.8 percent and two-year private nonprofit institutions had a rate of 53.8. Less-than-two-year institutions had an overall graduation rate of 66.2 percent for the 2011 cohort.

The report also examined data on graduation rates within 100 percent, 150 percent, and 200 percent of normal program completion time for undergraduate students, using the 2006 cohort for four-year institutions and the 2010 cohort for two-year institutions.

The data showed across-the-board increases when the graduation rates were based on 150 percent or 200 percent of normal program completion time rather than 100 percent. For example, the graduation rate within 100 percent of normal program completion time at four-year institutions was 39. 1 percent. The graduation rate increased to 59.2 percent when completion was within 150 percent of the normal program completion time and further jumped to 61.6 percent when it was within 200 percent of normal completion time.

Similar increases were seen among two-year institutions, going from 17.9 percent completion rate within 100 percent of normal program completion time to 31.7 percent at 150 percent of the normal completion time and 36.1 percent at 200 percent of the normal completion time. The largest increase in graduation rates was seen among students attending less-than-two year institutions, which increased from 38.5 percent at 100 percent of normal completion time to 66.4 percent at 150 percent of normal completion time and to 67.1 percent at 200 percent of normal completion time.

 

Publication Date: 1/6/2016


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