

Table B summarizes the educational outcomes of students in the two cohorts in terms of their 5year degree completion and persistence rates. The first column displays the percentage of students who completed any degree in 5 years (the sum of columns 2, 3, and 4). Columns 2, 3, and 4 show the rate at which students completed each type of degree (bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, and vocational certificate), while columns 5 and 6 display the percentage of students who had not earned a degree, but were still enrolled in either a 4year institution or a subbaccalaureate institution. Column 7 shows the percentage of students who were not enrolled after 5 years and had not earned a degree. It is possible that these students resumed their postsecondary education at a later date (i.e., stopped out), but within the 5year time frame of each survey, they had not earned a degree and were not enrolled. The last column of the table displays the combined 5year degree completion and persistence rate (the sum of columns 1, 5, and 6), which, in other words, is the percentage of students who had completed a degree or were still enrolled 5 years after they began their postsecondary education. Where differences between the two student populations are statistically significant (p<.05), an asterisk appears next to the number for the more recent (1995–96) cohort. The results indicate an increase in the percentage of students who had not yet completed a degree, but were still enrolled in a 4year institution 5 years after first enrolling. These are students who are taking longer than 5 years in their efforts to complete a bachelor’s degree. This finding held across all institution types except those in the forprofit sector. Among all students who started in 1989–90, 8 percent were still enrolled in a 4year institution, while among those who began 6 years later, 12 percent were still enrolled. The increase in enrollment after 5 years was accompanied by an overall decline in degree completion from 50 to 47 percent. However, for both cohorts, bachelor’s degree completion remained at about onequarter among all beginning students and at about 53 percent among students who began in 4year institutions. Changes in persistence and completion rates varied across the institution types that students first attended. For example, among students who began in public 4year colleges or universities, the likelihood of still being enrolled in a 4year institution increased (from 16 to 21 percent). Commensurate with this, the combined degree completion and 5year persistence rate went up as well (from 73 to 78 percent).^{5} This finding implies that given more time, the rate of bachelor’s degree completion in public 4year institutions may increase. In private notforprofit 4year institutions, on the other hand, a change in the combined completion and persistence rate could not be detected even though the likelihood of still being enrolled in a 4year institution increased measurably (from 7 to 11 percent). Like students who first enrolled in the 4year sector, those who started in public 2year colleges increased their likelihood of being enrolled in a 4year institution at the end of 5 years (from 5 to 10 percent). At the same time, comparisons between the two cohorts revealed no measurable change in either transfer rates from public 2year colleges (figure 4) or bachelor’s degree completion of transfer students (table 12). Therefore, the fact that a greater percentage of transfer students are enrolled in a 4year institution after 5 years suggests that public 2year college students in the later cohort may have been more persistent in pursuing a bachelor’s degree. At the same time, however, the rate at which students in public 2year colleges completed vocational certificates declined over the 6 years between cohorts, from 13 percent to 9 percent. 
