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PEDAR: Executive Summary  The Road Lsss Traveled? Students Who Enroll in Multiple Institutions
Introduction
Beginning Postsecondary Students
Relationship of Specific Variables to Persistence, Attainment, and Time to Degree
Bachelor's Degree Recipients
Conclusions
Research Methodology
References
Full Report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)
 Beginning Postsecondary Students

As of 2001, 40 percent of 1995–96 beginning postsecondary students had attended more than one institution, including 32 percent who had transferred from one institution to another and 11 percent who had co-enrolled (table 2).1 Among beginning postsecondary students who had attended more than one institution, about one-quarter had attended more than two institutions (table 1).

Not surprisingly, students’ attendance patterns differed according to the level and control of institution they first attended. Students who began in 2-year institutions were more likely than students who began in 4-year institutions to attend more than one institution or to transfer (table 2). For example, 47 percent of students who began in public 2-year institutions had attended more than one institution as of 2001, compared with 39 and 37 percent of students who began in public 4-year and private not-for-profit 4-year institutions, respectively. No difference, however, could be detected between students who began in 2-year and in 4-year institutions in their likelihood of ever co-enrolling. Among students who began in 4-year institutions, those in public institutions were more likely than their private not-for-profit counterparts to transfer or ever attend public 2-year institutions. Twenty-seven percent of those who started in public 4-year institutions had transferred and one-fifth had enrolled in public 2-year institutions, compared with 24 and 14 percent, respectively, of students who began in private not-for-profit 4-year institutions. No difference was detected between students in public and in private not-for-profit 4-year institutions in the number of institutions they attended or their likelihood of co-enrolling.

In general, among 1995–96 beginning postsecondary students, more traditional students, such as younger students and those who attended full time, were more likely to attend multiple institutions than their older or part-time counterparts (tables 3-A and 3-B; tables 4-A and 4-B). Likewise, dependent students and those who did not delay their postsecondary enrollment were more likely to attend multiple institutions than their counterparts who were independent or who delayed their enrollment. For example, among students who began at 4-year institutions, 39 percent of dependent students had attended more than one institution as of 2001, compared with 27 percent of independent students. Conversely, students with more than one characteristic that placed them at risk of not completing postsecondary education were less likely than their counterparts with one or no such characteristics to attend multiple institutions.2 However, these characteristics are also associated with students’ likelihood of persisting in their postsecondary programs. The longer students persist, the more opportunity they have to attend more than one institution. Thus, to some extent, the association between these risk factors and multiple institution attendance may be due to the length of time students are enrolled.

The association between dependency status and multiple institution attendance was particularly apparent among students in public 2-year institutions, also known as community colleges. That is, in public 2-year institutions, dependent students were more likely than independent students to attend more than one institution (58 vs. 27 percent; table 3-A). This may be due, in part, to the fact that dependent students were more likely to transfer to 4-year institutions to earn a bachelor’s degree than their independent peers.3 Similarly, independent students participate in programs leading to vocational certificates more often than dependent students (Horn, Peter, and Rooney 2002). Because these programs tend to be of short duration (i.e., 1 year or less), students may have less opportunity or reason to transfer. In addition, independent students are more likely to attend part time, which is also associated with lower rates of multiple institution attendance. Independent students are also more likely to have families, careers, and other responsibilities that may influence their ability to move from school to school. In contrast, dependent students are more likely to enroll in community colleges with the intention of transferring to a 4-year institution and attaining a bachelor’s degree.

For 1995–96 postsecondary students beginning at 4-year institutions, multiple institution attendance was negatively related to degree attainment within 6 years. It appears, however, that for some students, multiple institution attendance may have only delayed attainment. For example, among students who began in 4-year institutions, those who attended more than one institution were less likely than students who attended only one institution to have attained any degree (55 vs. 71 percent); however, students attending more than one institution were more likely than those who attended one institution to still be enrolled in 2001 (25 vs. 8 percent) (figure A; table 4-C). About one-fifth of both groups were not enrolled and had not earned a degree. These results suggest that students who attended more than one institution may have needed more time to finish and that, given enough time, they may ultimately attain a degree. On the other hand, multiple institution attendance involving co- enrollment appeared to be positively related to persistence and attainment.


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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education