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Monday, 31st January 2011

College Retention Rates Improving at Two-Year Schools, Declining at Four-Year Schools

College Retention Rates Improving at Two-Year Schools, Declining at Four-Year Schools

Source:  ACT, Inc.

The first-to-second-year retention rate at U.S. two-year public colleges has risen to its highest level in 27 years of research, while the retention rate at four-year private colleges has dropped to its lowest level in that time, according to data from ACT, Inc.

Overall college retention rates—the percentage of first-year, full-time students who return to the same institution for their second year of college—remain relatively stable. Just two-thirds (67 percent) of all first-year students at U.S. two- and four-year colleges returned their second year of school, compared to 68 percent in 2005 and 66 percent last year. The data were gathered in ACT’s annual survey of more than 2,500 two-year and baccalaureate colleges and universities across the country.

...

Retention rates continue to be substantially lower at two-year than at four-year institutions overall. The gap, however, has narrowed in recent years.

The percentage of students at two-year colleges who returned to the same institution for their second year of school has been trending up, from 53 percent in 2005 to a record high of 56 percent currently. The retention rate at four-year private colleges, in contrast, has been trending down, from 75 percent in 2005 to 72 percent currently.

The reasons for this shift may be related to problems in the economy, according to Wes Habley, ACT’s principal associate, who has been conducting analyses of retention data for the not-for-profit organization since 1985.

+ College Retention and Graduation Rates (reports for 2000 through 2010)


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