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Mixed Enrollment Status: Favorable for Non-First-Time Student Degree Completion

Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success

The traditional 18-year-old high school graduate enrolling full time at a university no longer represents the majority of college students. Today’s non-traditional students are entering, or returning, to postsecondary education older, with families and jobs, and with varying degrees of enrollment intensity. In 2012, 51 percent of undergraduate students were independent, 40 percent were age 25 or older, 15 percent were single parents, and 37 percent were enrolled part-time. A new national study on the enrollment and persistence of non-first-time students (NFT) conducted by a group of higher education organizations [1], indicates that when NFT students combine periods of part-time and full-time enrollment, they are less likely to drop out and are more likely to complete an associate’s degree, compared to exclusively part-time students.

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Press Releases

Higher Ed Organizations Release Dataset from Non-First-Time Student Enrollment and Persistence Study

A group of higher education organizations today released the complete dataset from the first national effort to benchmark the persistence patterns of non-first-time (NFT) college students. Previously released findings from the study showed low completion rates for returning students and examined the efficacy of mandatory “15 credit per semester” policies at 2-year programs.

The group is releasing the dataset to enable others concerned with outcomes in higher education to conduct their own analysis and to spur further research into the factors affecting college credential attainment rates, particularly among working adults. The initiative is a cooperative effort between the American Council on Education (ACE), InsideTrack, NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) and the National Student Clearinghouse.

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