Graduation Rates – Recent NCES Data!

Dear Commons Community,

In a couple of weeks, I will be on a panel at the annual meeting/conference of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.   The focus of the panel is the role of for-profit and not-for profit colleges and universities in meeting the educational aspirations of minority, low-income and underserved student populations.  As part of my planning/research on the topic, I reviewed a  recent USDOE National Center for Education Statistics report.  Much of the data in the report was fairly straight-forward.  However, one series of charts on graduation rates particularly at the community college level was surprising.   While quite low by some standards, the USDOE NCES uses graduation rates based on completion within six years for a baccalaureate and three years for an associate degree.  As some research has shown (see especially the study by our colleagues here at the Graduate Center – Paul Attewell and David Lavin, Passing the Torch), many students take much longer than the six and three-year time limits.   Below are two charts highlighting these data for a cohort of 2002 (4 year students) and 2005 (2-year students).  The data are from NCES Report 2010-152 and can be found at:



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