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PEDAR: Executive Summary Short-Term Enrollment in Postsecondary Education: Student Background and Institutional Differences in Reasons for Early Departure, 1996-98
What Proportion of Students Left College Without a Credential and Did Not Return in the First 3 Years?
What Factors Were Associated with Early Departure from Postsecondary Education by Institution Type?
Students' Educational Expectations
Other Characteristics
What Reasons Did These Short-Term Enrollees Give for Their Departure?
What Other Characteristics of Short-Term Enrollees Were Associated with Their Reasons for Departure?
Were Differences in Reasons for Departure by Institution Type Found After Controlling for Other Characteristics?
Other Results
Research Methodology
Full Report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)
What Factors Were Associated with Early Departure from Postsecondary Education by Institution Type? Other Characteristics

Lower academic performance during the first year of enrollment was associated with a higher rate of attrition at all three types of institutions, even when taking into account other factors related to departure from postsecondary education. Transfer between institutions and changes in number of dependents from their initial entry into college until 1998 were also associated with their departure among students who began at public institutions, even when other variables were taken into consideration. Those who transferred to another institution were less likely to have left college. In addition, students from all three types of institutions who had more dependents in 1998 than when they began college had higher rates of attrition than those who never had dependents. For example, among students who began at public 2-year institutions, 61 percent of those who subsequently had children left college by 1998, compared with 37 percent of those who never had children. Thus, changes such as these that can occur during students' postsecondary enrollment may supersede the effects of their initial enrollment characteristics.

Furthermore, when examining nontraditional student characteristics,3 students with nontraditional characteristics were often more likely to leave within 3 years than their counterparts without these characteristics. For example, among students who began at public 4-year institutions, those who delayed postsecondary enrollment more than a year after high school were more likely than those who had gone directly to college (33 versus 15 percent) to depart. Among students who began at private not-for-profit 4-year colleges and universities, 62 percent of those who had ever been married when first enrolled had departed within 3 years without a credential, compared with 15 percent of those who had never been married. At public 2-year institutions, students who worked part time or did not work while they were enrolled were less likely than those who worked full time (33 and 43 percent, respectively, versus 59 percent) to leave college. These relationships were found even when taking into account other factors associated with departure.

Some characteristics, however, were associated with departure from 4-year institutions, but not public 2-year institutions. Students facing a lower price of attendance were more likely to depart from 4-year institutions, while this relationship was not found among students who began at public 2-year institutions after taking other factors into account. In addition, among students who began at 4-year institutions, attending colleges with higher graduation rates was associated with lower attrition. However, this relationship was not detected among students who began at public 2-year institutions.

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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education