A group of five higher education associations and other organizations are collaborating on a study of the retention and graduation rates of five million students who are not first-time college students. The American Council on Education, InsideTrack, NASPA -- Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, and the National Student Clearinghouse last month announced the research project, which is slated to be wrapped up this fall.
The research is intended to give a broader, more accurate view of student completion trends than federal graduation rates, which track only first-time, full-time students. This approach fails to capture the large number of adult students who enroll in college multiple times. The Clearinghouse database, however, can provide information on almost all students. The new study will look at aggregate enrollment patterns, breaking out data by institution type, age of students, gender, geographic location, enrollment intensity and the type of degree pursued.