The Data

Indicators presented in The Completion Arch originate from national and state data sources; from national initiatives such as Achieving the Dream and Complete College America, and from published articles and reports. National data are based on longitudinal surveys collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the U.S. Department of Education. State data come from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS) at the U.S. Department of Education and from state longitudinal data systems (SLDS). Results from SLDS may be published on state websites, submitted to Complete College America or used in academic research articles and reports.

Research Briefs



More undergraduates are enrolled in community colleges than in any other postsecondary sector, but enrollment has declined after peaking in fall 2010.

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Part-Time Students

Over 60 percent of community college students attend part time, yet many measures of progress and success are limited to full-time students.

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Transfer and Completion

Six-year completion rates provide a realistic time frame for students who enroll part time, who are not enrolled continuously, or who require developmental education.

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What is a Transfer Student?

Preparing students for transfer to baccalaureate-granting institutions has long been a primary mission of community colleges, yet there is no widely accepted standard measure of transfer.

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What is a Community College?

As colleges evolve to serve new missions, the very definition of community college is changing.

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Workforce Preparation and Employment Outcomes

There are two primary sources of employment data for former community college students—administrative records and surveys—each of which has its advantages and disadvantages.

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Multiple Initiatives,
One Framework

In this era of proliferating accountability and completion efforts, The Completion Arch provides a central resource to connect numerous initiatives, data, and metrics within one framework.

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Contributing Initiatives

The Completion Arch was conceived by the College Board and RTI International. It also draws on the expertise and leadership of an Advisory Committee of distinguished educators, policy makers, scholars and business leaders. Its members are committed to promoting student achievement in America's community colleges and will guide the initiative's efforts to improve community college student success.

Click on each of the logos below to learn more about the Advisory Committee members.

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