Percentage of students reaching first-year credit milestone: 24 credits for full-time students and 18 credits for part-time students
First-time degree-seeking students who entered North Carolina Community Colleges in fall 2004
Among first-time degree-seeking North Carolina Community College students enrolled in fall 2004, about half (51 percent) reached a designated credit milestone within one year, which was 24 or more credits for students initially enrolled full time and 18 or more credits for students initially enrolled part time. Younger students were more likely than older students to reach the credit milestone (59 percent vs. 41 percent). Students initially enrolled full time were more than twice as likely to reach the credit milestone as students initially enrolled part time (68 percent vs. 27 percent).
Researchers generally agree that students need to earn a certain number of credits during their first year to gain momentum toward completion and transfer. Although the probability of completing a certificate or degree increases almost linearly with the number of first-year credits completed, the indicators in this measure specify a particular threshold number of credits in the first year. Community college students who earn at least 20 credits in their first year are more likely to complete a certificate or associate degree and to earn a bachelor's degree than those who do not. Policies that encourage full-time and summer enrollment in the first year can facilitate early credit accumulation.
Degree-seeking students: include students seeking associate degrees, certificates, or diplomas.
Data were obtained from Curriculum registration, Progress, and Financial Aid Report files for the fall 2004 cohort. Enrollment status was determined at the time of fall registration.