Indicator Image

Are beginning community college students achieving their degree goals?

Skomsvold, P., Radford, A.W., and Berkner, L. (2011). Web Tables: Six-Year Attainment, Persistence, Transfer, Retention, and Withdrawal Rates of Students Who Began Postsecondary Education in 2003-04, Tables 1.1-B (NCES 2011-152). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC.

Most community college students expect from the beginning of their education that they will eventually earn a bachelor’s degree and perhaps attain an advanced degree. Some of those who were beginning students at community colleges in the 2003/04 academic year had earned a bachelor’s degree by spring 2009 while others were still in school or had left school, at least temporarily.

Key Observations

  • Nearly 4 in 10 postsecondary students who began their education at a community college in the 2003/04 academic year expected that they would eventually earn a bachelor’s degree. By spring 2009, 11% of the cohort had attained that goal and another 6% were still enrolled in a 4-year institution.
  • An associate’s degree was the highest degree expectation of 15% of beginning community college students in 2003/04, and 15% of the cohort had earned that degree by spring 2009 and were no longer in college.
  • Although only 4% of the 2003/04 cohort expected that a certificate would be their highest credential, 10% of the students had earned a certificate by spring 2009 and were no longer in college.
  • About 12% of the 2003/04 beginning community college students were enrolled in a less than 4-year institution in spring 2009.
  • Nearly half (46%) of the 2003/04 beginning students had not attained a degree or certificate by spring 2009 and were no longer enrolled in college.
STEM Education Data and Trends 2014
The National Science Board
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22230
Tel: (703) 292-7000
FIRS: (800) 877-8339
TDD: (800) 281-8749
NSB Logo