Education Progress

Are beginning community college students achieving their degree goals?

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Are beginning community college students achieving their degree goals?

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Main Finding

Most community college students expect from the beginning of their education that they will eventually earn a bachelor’s degree and perhaps attain an advanced degree. Some of those who were beginning students at community colleges in the 2003/04 academic year had earned a bachelor’s degree by spring 2009 while others were still in school or had left school, at least temporarily.

Key Observations

  • Nearly 4 in 10 postsecondary students who began their education at a community college in the 2003/04 academic year expected that they would eventually earn a bachelor’s degree. By spring 2009, 11% of the cohort had attained that goal and another 6% were still enrolled in a 4-year institution.
  • An associate’s degree was the highest degree expectation of 15% of beginning community college students in 2003/04, and 15% of the cohort had earned that degree by spring 2009 and were no longer in college.
  • Although only 4% of the 2003/04 cohort expected that a certificate would be their highest credential, 10% of the students had earned a certificate by spring 2009 and were no longer in college.
  • About 12% of the 2003/04 beginning community college students were enrolled in a less than 4-year institution in spring 2009.
  • Nearly half (46%) of the 2003/04 beginning students had not attained a degree or certificate by spring 2009 and were no longer enrolled in college.