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Expanding Data on Part-time and Transfer Students


August 6, 2014


Expanding Data on Part-time and Transfer Students

A new report and a new online tool explain and begin to fill in data gaps in student postsecondary attainment.

According to the National Student Clearinghouse, more than 31 million students have enrolled in postsecondary education but have not completed a certificate or degree. About two-thirds of these non-completers were enrolled for two terms or more, typically in multiple institutions, illustrating a pattern of starting and stopping common to non-traditional students that can lead to lost credits as students transfer between schools. In addition, non-completers often spent years pursuing their postsecondary education, well past the timeframe of 150 percent of program length that is typically considered when tracking graduation rates.

To combat several of these issues, a new online tool, Student Achievement Measure, helps track student attainment of postsecondary credentials over longer time periods and transfer across institutions. SAM shows data about not just full-time but also part-time students' persistence and transfer, unlike the federal government, while has stated it will began tracking part-time students and students who transfer into an institution in 2015-16. SAM also includes data on completers who earn a degree or certificate within six years (300 percent of program length for associate degree earners). The project is funded by the Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

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