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Title:  On Track to Complete? A Taxonomy of Beginning Community College Students and Their Outcomes 3 Years After Enrolling: 2003-04 through 2006
Description: This study uses a classification scheme, the Community College Taxonomy (CCT), to analyze outcomes for beginning community college students according to how "directed" (strongly directed, moderately directed, or not directed) they are toward completing a program of study. Levels of direction are based on factors associated with student persistence and degree attainment, and outcomes examined included institutional retention, student persistence, 4-year transfer rates, enrollment continuity, and first-year attrition. The study is based on data from the 2004/06 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/06), a national sample of undergraduates who enrolled in postsecondary institutions for the first time between July 1, 2003, and June 30, 2004; participants were interviewed in 2004 and 2006. This study includes only students who initially enrolled in a community college and were not enrolled concurrently in any other institution. Some key findings include:
  • Students classified according to the CCT as "strongly directed" toward completion had higher rates of institutional retention, student persistence, AA degree attainment, and 4-year transfer than did their less-directed peers.
  • Nearly one-fourth left college in their first year and did not return within the 3-year study period. "Strongly directed" students left college in their first year at a lower rate (16 percent) than did their "moderately directed" (29 percent) or "not directed" (41 percent) counterparts.
  • Overall, 49 percent of students had maintained their enrollment or completed a program of study at their first institution, and 55 percent had persisted in any postsecondary institution, within three years after their enrollment.
  • Some 10 percent of students had earned an AA degree, 5 percent had obtained a vocational certificate, and nearly 20 percent had transferred to another institution.
Online Availability:
Cover Date: July 2009
Web Release: July 28, 2009
Publication #: NCES 2009152
Center/Program: NCES
Type of Product: Statistical Analysis Report
Survey/Program Areas: Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS)
Questions: For questions about the content of this Statistical Analysis Report, please contact:
NCES WebMaster.