Skip Navigation
small NCES header image
Table 379. Percentage distribution of first-time postsecondary students starting at 2- and 4-year institutions during the 2003-04 academic year, by highest degree attained, enrollment status, and selected characteristics: Spring 2009
[Standard errors appear in parentheses]
Selected characteristic Students starting at 2-year institutions Students starting at 4-year institutions
Highest degree attained No degree, still enrolled No degree, not enrolled Highest degree attained No degree, still enrolled No degree, not enrolled
Total, any degree1  Certificate Associate's Bachelor's2  Total, any degree1  Certificate Associate's Bachelor's2 
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Total 35.1 (0.86) 9.5   (0.68) 15.0   (0.63) 10.6   (0.63) 18.5   (0.98) 46.4 (1.01) 64.2   (1.18) 1.7   (0.24) 4.6   (0.49) 58.0   (1.34) 12.2   (0.60) 23.6   (0.97)
Sex                                                                    
Male 33.3 (1.54) 9.4   (1.19) 13.7   (1.00) 10.3   (0.79) 19.1   (1.64) 47.6 (1.54) 61.4   (1.40) 1.2   (0.29) 5.1   (0.72) 55.1   (1.54) 13.9   (0.86) 24.8   (1.18)
Female 36.5 (1.18) 9.6   (0.90) 16.0   (0.92) 10.9   (0.83) 18.1   (0.93) 45.4 (1.37) 66.5   (1.45) 2.1   (0.34) 4.2   (0.51) 60.2   (1.58) 10.9   (0.71) 22.6   (1.24)
                                                                     
Age when first enrolled                                                                    
18 years old or younger 39.4 (1.63) 6.1   (0.78) 15.5   (1.24) 17.9   (1.36) 20.6   (1.70) 40.0 (1.58) 69.1   (1.27) 1.6   (0.29) 3.7   (0.45) 63.8   (1.41) 11.2   (0.76) 19.8   (1.07)
19 years old 37.7 (2.04) 8.9   (2.01) 16.2   (1.46) 12.6   (1.21) 17.7   (1.57) 44.6 (1.75) 65.1   (1.43) 1.0   (0.24) 4.2   (0.63) 59.9   (1.51) 12.3   (0.92) 22.6   (1.16)
20 to 23 years old 29.1 (1.94) 10.3   (1.38) 14.6   (1.68) 4.1   (0.69) 21.9   (1.92) 49.0 (2.10) 41.9   (3.78) 4.1 ! (1.62) 8.4   (1.74) 29.4   (3.71) 17.8   (2.91) 40.3   (3.49)
24 to 29 years old 28.8 (4.04) 15.6   (3.98) 10.8   (1.98) 2.5   (0.74) 17.2   (2.62) 53.9 (4.05) 32.7   (5.77)   (†) 9.4 ! (4.28) 20.4   (5.06) 18.8   (4.87) 48.6   (5.81)
30 years old or over 31.7 (2.43) 14.4   (2.08) 15.0   (1.89)   (†) 10.4   (1.97) 57.9 (2.65) 33.7   (7.09) 3.9 ! (1.84) 13.4 ! (5.05) 16.4 ! (6.14) 14.8   (3.97) 51.4   (7.32)
                                                                     
Race/ethnicity                                                                    
White 38.9 (1.16) 9.8   (1.0) 16.6   (0.82) 12.5   (0.85) 16.2   (1.21) 44.9 (1.31) 68.9   (1.04) 1.5   (0.31) 4.8   (0.54) 62.6   (1.31) 9.8   (0.58) 21.4   (0.94)
Black 28.1 (2.60) 11.3   (1.66) 11.4   (2.12) 5.3   (1.10) 22.0   (2.04) 50.0 (2.79) 46.9   (3.16) 2.2 ! (0.91) 4.2 ! (1.48) 40.5   (3.03) 19.6   (2.21) 33.6   (3.08)
Hispanic 28.3 (2.18) 8.2   (1.67) 12.7   (1.51) 7.4   (1.10) 18.8   (2.03) 52.9 (2.58) 48.8   (3.24) 2.2 ! (0.83) 5.1   (1.39) 41.5   (2.96) 18.6   (2.36) 32.5   (3.34)
Asian/Pacific Islander 38.3 (4.50) 6.5 ! (2.29) 14.6   (2.91) 17.2   (3.50) 29.0   (4.58) 32.7 (3.51) 72.8   (3.21) 1.4 ! (0.67) 2.1 ! (0.94) 69.3   (3.22) 11.9   (2.23) 15.2   (2.59)
American Indian/Alaska Native 32.1 (9.62)   (†)   (†)   (†) 28.4 ! (10.89) 39.6 (10.68) 51.5   (9.53)   (†)   (†) 39.3   (9.11) 19.3 ! (8.63) 29.3 ! (10.85)
Two or more races 33.9 (5.51) 9.0 ! (3.65) 14.6 ! (4.39) 10.3   (2.87) 21.4   (4.98) 44.7 (5.50) 57.1   (5.42)   (†) 4.0 ! (1.83) 50.4   (5.57) 19.2   (4.71) 23.6   (4.32)
                                                                     
Highest education level of parents                                                                    
High school diploma or less 32.0 (1.42) 11.0   (1.30) 14.3   (1.05) 6.7   (0.72) 17.1   (1.18) 50.9 (1.51) 49.9   (2.12) 2.9   (0.83) 6.6   (0.97) 40.4   (2.01) 15.4   (1.33) 34.7   (1.98)
Some college/vocational 38.3 (2.24) 9.6   (1.48) 17.6   (1.17) 11.1   (1.07) 18.0   (1.70) 43.8 (2.06) 59.1   (1.90) 2.3 ! (0.76) 7.0   (1.08) 49.8   (2.11) 13.4   (1.24) 27.5   (1.84)
Bachelor's degree 39.4 (1.91) 8.2   (1.60) 14.1   (1.87) 17.2   (1.74) 20.6   (2.09) 40.0 (2.53) 70.1   (1.60) 1.2   (0.28) 3.4   (0.58) 65.6   (1.62) 11.0   (0.87) 18.9   (1.41)
Advanced (higher than                                                                    
bachelor's) degree 37.2 (3.03) 6.2   (1.70) 13.7   (1.81) 17.2   (2.09) 22.4   (2.56) 40.4 (3.74) 75.8   (1.44) 0.6 ! (0.24) 2.1   (0.39) 73.1   (1.51) 9.2   (0.78) 15.0   (1.35)
                                                                     
Dependency status when first                                                                    
enrolled                                                                    
Dependent 39.4 (1.26) 7.5   (0.76) 16.7   (0.85) 15.2   (0.88) 19.6   (1.19) 41.0 (1.15) 68.3   (1.06) 1.4   (0.22) 4.2   (0.45) 62.7   (1.22) 11.6   (0.63) 20.1   (0.90)
Independent 28.3 (1.44) 12.8   (1.26) 12.3   (1.13) 3.3   (0.60) 16.8   (1.42) 54.9 (1.75) 31.4   (3.08) 3.7   (1.10) 7.5   (1.92) 20.2   (2.84) 17.3   (2.61) 51.3   (3.25)
                                                                     
Dependent student family                                                                    
income in 2002                                                                    
Less than $25,000 34.6 (2.35) 8.4   (1.48) 14.5   (1.54) 11.7   (1.73) 18.0   (1.91) 47.4 (2.43) 52.7   (2.28) 2.8 ! (1.09) 5.0   (1.00) 44.9   (2.40) 15.9   (1.63) 31.4   (2.38)
$25,000 to $44,999 36.0 (2.12) 7.3   (1.36) 16.4   (1.75) 12.3   (1.60) 19.0   (2.24) 45.0 (2.67) 62.7   (2.31) 1.9   (0.53) 5.4   (1.03) 55.3   (2.50) 13.1   (1.69) 24.2   (1.97)
$45,000 to $69,999 41.3 (2.13) 7.1   (1.29) 17.6   (1.59) 16.6   (1.58) 22.0   (1.92) 36.7 (1.86) 67.1   (1.94) 1.5   (0.34) 5.1   (0.77) 60.6   (2.00) 12.8   (1.27) 20.1   (1.86)
$70,000 to $99,999 43.1 (3.50) 7.6 ! (3.67) 16.3   (2.58) 19.1   (2.14) 18.4   (2.75) 38.5 (2.76) 71.9   (1.64) 0.9 ! (0.30) 4.4   (0.88) 66.7   (1.85) 9.4   (0.83) 18.7   (1.37)
$100,000 or more 45.0 (3.56) 6.6   (1.77) 19.6   (3.74) 18.8   (2.40) 20.5   (3.25) 34.4 (3.61) 80.0   (1.30) 0.7 ! (0.29) 1.9   (0.37) 77.5   (1.38) 8.5   (0.94) 11.4   (0.99)
                                                                     
Timing of postsecondary enrollment                                                                    
Delayed entry 29.1 (1.25) 11.0   (1.11) 13.2   (1.02) 4.9   (0.63) 17.2   (1.26) 53.7 (1.44) 36.6   (2.80) 3.8   (1.01) 7.9   (1.54) 24.9   (2.53) 17.8   (2.06) 45.6   (2.75)
Did not delay entry3  41.0 (1.36) 7.8   (0.86) 17.0   (0.99) 16.2   (1.00) 20.1   (1.44) 38.8 (1.16) 69.2   (1.05) 1.3   (0.21) 4.0   (0.40) 64.0   (1.17) 11.1   (0.61) 19.6   (0.91)
                                                                     
Intensity of enrollment                                                                    
through 2009                                                                    
Always full-time 44.9 (1.66) 11.4   (1.50) 18.0   (1.42) 15.5   (1.11) 10.1   (0.87) 44.9 (1.65) 73.7   (1.15) 1.2   (0.26) 3.8   (0.55) 68.7   (1.41) 6.7   (0.46) 19.6   (1.03)
Always part-time 13.9 (2.80) 8.4 ! (2.79) 5.5   (1.12)   (†) 13.3   (1.79) 72.8 (2.68) 12.5 ! (4.93)   (†)   (†)   (†) 13.8 ! (4.23) 73.6   (6.59)
Mixed 36.6 (1.32) 8.7   (0.83) 16.6   (1.10) 11.4   (0.99) 26.1   (1.34) 37.2 (1.69) 48.3   (1.59) 2.7   (0.47) 6.1   (0.72) 39.5   (1.60) 23.3   (1.39) 28.4   (1.42)
                                                                     
Remedial course taken in 2003-04                                                                    
No 35.4 (0.95) 10.0   (0.84) 14.5   (0.81) 10.9   (0.78) 17.6   (0.99) 47.0 (1.21) 65.2   (1.23) 1.8   (0.28) 4.4   (0.53) 59.0   (1.43) 11.5   (0.62) 23.4   (1.05)
Yes 34.3 (2.10) 8.3   (1.62) 16.2   (1.37) 9.8   (0.98) 21.0   (1.70) 44.7 (1.92) 59.6   (1.98) 1.2   (0.32) 5.4   (0.92) 53.0   (2.13) 15.7   (1.44) 24.6   (1.81)
                                                                     
Highest degree expected in 2003-04                                                                    
No degree or certificate (†)   (†)   (†) #   (†)   (†) 87.3 (4.75)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)
Certificate 44.8 (5.47) 42.8   (5.28)   (†)   (†) 6.9   (2.02) 48.3 (5.60) 41.2 ! (18.43)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)
Associate's degree 34.6 (2.38) 13.9   (2.05) 19.3   (1.86) 1.4 ! (0.49) 12.3   (1.69) 53.1 (2.80) 43.7   (8.43) 16.2 ! (5.50) 21.3 ! (7.06) 6.1 ! (2.93) 12.8 ! (5.09) 43.5   (7.70)
Bachelor's degree4  32.7 (1.81) 8.0   (1.49) 15.4   (1.02) 9.3   (1.03) 18.1   (1.50) 49.3 (1.60) 55.2   (2.02) 2.2   (0.52) 6.8   (1.02) 46.2   (2.07) 15.1   (1.37) 29.7   (1.59)
Master's degree4  38.2 (1.72) 7.0   (1.32) 14.8   (1.21) 16.4   (1.19) 22.7   (1.63) 39.1 (1.66) 66.7   (1.42) 1.0   (0.25) 4.1   (0.62) 61.7   (1.42) 11.2   (0.77) 22.1   (1.32)
Doctoral/first-professional                                                                    
degree4  34.7 (2.30) 4.8   (0.93) 13.8   (2.02) 16.0   (1.65) 22.4   (2.54) 42.9 (3.25) 70.6   (1.57) 1.3   (0.36) 1.9   (0.36) 67.4   (1.69) 11.0   (0.95) 18.3   (1.35)
                                                                     
Work intensity (including work-                                                                    
study) in 2003-04                                                                    
Did not work 34.7 (1.79) 11.2   (1.57) 15.8   (1.20) 7.7   (0.85) 19.9   (1.80) 45.3 (2.16) 69.9   (1.35) 0.8   (0.18) 3.4   (0.55) 65.8   (1.47) 10.9   (0.92) 19.1   (1.08)
Worked part time 39.9 (2.08) 7.9   (1.20) 17.4   (1.00) 14.6   (1.04) 17.2   (1.28) 42.8 (1.70) 66.2   (1.42) 1.7   (0.31) 5.2   (0.69) 59.3   (1.44) 12.1   (0.85) 21.7   (1.21)
Worked full time 28.6 (1.96) 10.6   (1.63) 10.9   (1.08) 7.2   (0.94) 19.3   (1.53) 52.1 (2.10) 40.1   (2.93) 4.1   (1.22) 5.9   (1.20) 30.1   (2.60) 16.5   (1.77) 43.4   (2.86)
                                                                     
Control of first institution                                                                    
Public 34.4 (0.95) 8.5   (0.68) 14.4   (0.61) 11.6   (0.68) 19.6   (1.03) 46.0 (1.00) 64.8   (1.22) 1.6   (0.23) 3.8   (0.45) 59.5   (1.32) 12.9   (0.73) 22.2   (0.98)
Private, nonprofit 46.2 (8.52) 13.3 ! (6.56) 21.5 ! (6.76) 11.3 ! (4.99) 10.4 ! (3.32) 43.4 (8.28) 69.9   (1.45) 1.5   (0.37) 3.8   (0.95) 64.6   (1.89) 11.1   (1.02) 19.0   (1.18)
Private, for-profit 39.5 (3.70) 19.6   (4.78) 19.5   (3.51)   (†) 9.6   (2.61) 50.9 (4.64) 33.9   (4.37)   (†) 14.6   (3.45) 15.7   (3.78) 11.3   (2.44) 54.8   (3.82)
                                                                     
Income quartile in 2003-045                                                                     
Lowest quartile 30.6 (1.45) 9.4   (1.27) 13.0   (1.14) 8.3   (0.84) 18.4   (1.46) 51.0 (1.78) 49.5   (1.91) 2.7   (0.73) 4.6   (0.74) 42.2   (2.15) 16.2   (1.37) 34.3   (1.75)
Second quartile 37.1 (1.58) 10.5   (1.56) 15.8   (1.26) 10.8   (0.97) 19.7   (1.58) 43.2 (1.86) 60.5   (2.04) 2.4   (0.51) 6.5   (1.10) 51.6   (2.20) 13.5   (1.16) 26.0   (1.82)
Third quartile 36.3 (2.51) 9.6   (1.71) 15.0   (1.35) 11.6   (1.53) 18.7   (1.64) 45.0 (2.18) 67.2   (1.58) 1.3   (0.31) 4.9   (0.80) 61.0   (1.85) 11.2   (0.88) 21.6   (1.55)
Highest quartile 38.6 (2.51) 8.1   (1.49) 17.3   (1.96) 13.2   (1.65) 16.5   (2.30) 45.0 (3.20) 76.8   (1.37) 0.6 ! (0.25) 2.4   (0.46) 73.8   (1.42) 8.7   (0.80) 14.4   (1.18)
†Not applicable.
#Rounds to zero.
!Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
1 Includes a small percentage of students who had attained a degree and were still enrolled. Includes recipients of degrees not shown separately.
2 Includes a small percentage of students who had attained an advanced degree.
3 Includes students with a standard high school diploma who enrolled in postsecondary education in the same year as their graduation.
4 Students starting at 2-year institutions include students whose goal was to transfer to a 4-year institution.
5 Indicates the income quartile of the student, based on the student's total income in 2002 for independent students or the parents' total income in 2002 for dependent students. Income quartiles were determined separately for dependent and independent students based on percentile rankings and then combined into one variable.
NOTE: Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2004/09 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/09). (This table was prepared November 2011.)
Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.
National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education