Completion rates within six years of first enrolling in a community college
First-time degree-seeking students who entered Virginia Community Colleges in fall 2010
Among first-time degree-seeking students who entered Virginia Community Colleges in fall 2010, 46 percent completed their degree or certificate program within six years. Specifically, 32 percent completed at the institution where they first started, 2 percent completed at a different two-year institution, and 13 percent completed at a four-year institution. Of those who did not complete their degree or certificate programs within six years, 14 percent were still enrolled and 39 percent left their institution without completing.
The rate of completion within six years varied with the age of students at first entry. Some 50 percent of students 20 and younger completed an award, compared with 33 percent of students over 20 through 24 and 40 percent of students older than 24.
Some 50 percent of women and 44 percent of men completed their degree or program.
And 67 percent of full-time students completed their degree or program, compared with 45 percent of mixed full-time and part-time students and 22 percent of exclusively part-time students.
At community colleges, graduation means attainment of a certificate or associate degree. However, many students attend community colleges to take lower-division courses for a bachelor's degree, and some transfer to a four-year institution without obtaining a credential. From the perspective of the community college, these students have finished a curriculum that prepared them for transfer and, therefore, should be considered as having completed. Some states even track and report which community college students graduate from other institutions. Most sources, however, do not specify what proportion of transfer students have finished the coursework required for upper-division standing at the four-year college, and research suggests that many students transfer without reaching this threshold. A completion rate that combines transfer and degree attainment is sometimes referred to as a "success rate."
Not all states are included due to data availability. Only states with at least 65 percent historical coverage (calculated as the fall 2006 enrollment of state community colleges that reported enrollment to NSC divided by the total fall 2006 enrollment of the state's community colleges) are included.
Completions were established using a combination of degree/certificate award records submitted by institutions as part of their participation in DegreeVerify and StudentTracker.
First-time status: Student did not show a postsecondary enrollment record in the four years prior to summer 2010 and did not receive a degree or certificate from any postsecondary institution prior to fall 2010.
Fall 2010: Enrollment during any term starting August 15 through October 31, 2010. If an institution did not offer a term during this period, then enrollments from July 11 through August 14, 2010 were also included.
Shapiro, D., Dundar, A., Wakhungu, P.K., Yuan, X., Nathan, A., & Hwang, Y. (2017, March). Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates (Signature Report No. 12a). Herndon, VA: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.