PEDAR: Executive Summary  Waiting to Attend College: Students Who Delay Their Postsecondary Enrollment
An Overview of Delaye Entrants
High School Dropout Risk Factors and Academic Preparation
Duration of Delay
Student Characteristics
Enrollment Characteristics
Why They Enrolled
Overall Persistence and Attainment
Research Methodology
Full Report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)

As was found in earlier research, the results from this study confirmed that students who delay their postsecondary enrollment earn postsecondary credentials at lower rates than their peers who enroll immediately after high school. Among 1995–96 beginning postsecondary students, 40 percent of delayed entrants had earned some kind of postsecondary credential within 6 years, compared with 58 percent of immediate entrants (table 9). In contrast, 47 percent of delayed entrants were not enrolled in 2001 and had not earned a credential, compared with 27 percent of immediate entrants. However, this study was more concerned with the association between length of delay and educational outcomes among delayed entrants. For example, as the length of delay between high school graduation and college enrollment increased, the likelihood of attaining a bachelor’s degree within 6 years declined. However, degree goals differed among groups who delayed shorter and longer periods of time. Therefore, it was necessary to conduct a multivariate analysis in order to control for differing degree goals and other factors related to the duration of delay.

When taking into account length of delay as well as the common variation of variables related to both delayed enrollment and degree completion (including gender, race/ethnicity, institution attended, attendance status, degree program, educational expectations, and remedial coursetaking), the likelihood of delayed entrants completing a postsecondary credential or still being enrolled was significantly lower than immediate entrants only for those who delayed no more than 1 year, while the results for students who delayed longer periods of time were not statistically significant.

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