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Chapter 8: Multivariate Analyses of Immediate Postsecondary Enrollment and Degree Attainment

Degree Attainment

Table BPS-1 compares the distributions of recent high school graduates11 who began postsecondary education in academic year 200304 who did and did not complete an associate's or bachelor's degree by 2009. Higher percentages of students who did attain a degree by 2009 than those who did not attain a degree had a parent who held a bachelor's degree or higher (57 percent vs. 35 percent), were from the highest income quartile (31 percent vs. 15 percent), had taken precalculus/calculus in high school (54 percent vs. 28 percent), had earned college-level credits in high school (43 percent vs. 24 percent), had taken the SAT or ACT (94 percent vs. 77 percent), first attended a private nonprofit postsecondary institution (27 percent vs. 12 percent), first attended a 4-year postsecondary institution (76 percent vs. 40 percent), declared a major during their first year of enrollment (70 percent vs. 67 percent), sometimes or often met with a college advisor in 2004 (82 percent vs. 62 percent), sometimes or often participated in school clubs in 2004 (46 percent vs. 22 percent), sometimes or often participated in school sports in 2004 (36 percent vs. 19 percent), and were always enrolled full time through 2009 (71 percent vs. 42 percent). In addition, lower percentages of students who did attain an associate's or bachelor's degree by 2009 (compared to those with no degree attainment) took any remedial classes in 2004 (20 percent vs. 27 percent), worked more than 20 hours a week (including work-study) (23 percent vs. 42 percent), experienced two or more stopout periods through 2009 (3 percent vs. 17 percent), and transferred between institutions two or more times through 2009 (5 percent vs. 9 percent).

Associations between student characteristics and degree attainment were examined for 200304 beginning postsecondary students who were recent high school graduates overall and separately for males and females; separately for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics (table BPS-2); and separately for males and females within each of these racial/ethnic groups (table BPS-3). Multivariate analyses were not conducted for Asians, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, or American Indians/Alaska Natives due to small sample sizes. Also, for the Black male and female and Hispanic male and female subgroup models, some of the results that appear to be substantive in magnitude are not statistically significant due to small subgroup sample sizes.

Results from the second logistic model indicate that the odds of attaining either an associate's or bachelor's degree by 2009 for males were 32 percent lower than the odds of degree attainment for females, after accounting for other student, family, high school, and postsecondary institutional characteristics that were included as independent variables in the model (table BPS-2). Compared with White students, Black students had 43 percent lower odds and Hispanic students had 25 percent lower odds of attaining an associate's or bachelor's degree, after accounting for other factors. After controlling for sex, race/ethnicity, and other characteristics listed in table BPS-1, findings for academic year 200304 beginning postsecondary students who were recent high school graduates include the following:

  • Income quartile in 200304: The odds of completing a degree program for students who were in the highest income quartile were 2.08 times the odds for those in the lowest income quartile.
  • Parents' educational attainment : Students whose parents had completed a bachelor's or higher degree had about 38 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than students whose parents' educational attainment was high school completion or less education.
  • Highest high school math completed : The odds of completing a degree program for students who reported taking algebra II/trigonometry were 40 percent higher and the odds for those who reported taking precalculus/calculus were 93 percent higher than the odds for those who had not taken any of those courses.
  • Earned college-level credits in high school : Students who earned college credits in high school had 39 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who had not received any college credits.
  • SAT or ACT test taking: Students who took the SAT or ACT exams had 52 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who had not taken either exam.
  • First institution control : Students who started their postsecondary education at private for-profit institutions had 59 percent lower odds of completing a degree program than those who started in public institutions.
  • Attending a 4-year institution at entry : Students who began their postsecondary education at a 4-year institution had 63 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who started at a less-than-4-year institution.
  • Advisor interaction: Students who met with their college advisor in their first year at their institutions had 30 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who did not.
  • School clubs : Students participating in clubs in their first year at their institutions had 39 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who did not.
  • Work hours : The odds of completing a degree program for students who worked more than 20 hours a week, including work study programs, were 19 percent lower than the odds of completing a degree program for those who did not work.
  • Full-time enrollment: The odds of completing a degree program for students who were always enrolled full time in their postsecondary program were over twice the odds for those who attended part time for some or all semesters.
  • Stopouts : Each stopout during a student's postsecondary education was associated with a 60 percent decrease in the odds of the student completing a degree program.

Males and Females: Examining these factors separately for males and females (controlling for race/ ethnicity and other variables), higher income quartiles were related to a higher likelihood of degree attainment among both groups (table BPS-2). Other findings include the following:

  • Parents' educational attainment : Females whose parents had completed a bachelor's or higher degree had 57 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those whose parents' educational attainment was high school completion or less education.
  • Highest high school math completed : Males whose highest math course in high school was algebra II/trigonometry had 67 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than males whose highest math course was less than algebra II/trigonometry. The odds of completing a degree program for males whose highest math course in high school was precalculus/calculus were over twice the odds of males whose highest math course was less than those courses. Females who reported that their highest math course in high school was precalculus/calculus had 75 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than females whose highest math course was less than those courses.
  • Earned college-level credits in high school : Males who earned college credits in high school had 36 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who had not received any college credits. Females who earned college credits in high school had 42 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who had not received any college credits.
  • SAT or ACT test taking: Males who took the SAT or ACT exams had 57 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who had not taken either exam.
  • First institution control : Females who started their postsecondary education at private for-profit institutions had 74 percent lower odds of completing a degree program than those who started in public institutions.
  • Attending a 4-year institution at entry : Males who began their postsecondary education at a 4-year institution had 72 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who started at a less-than-4-year institution. Females who began their postsecondary education at a 4-year institution had 49 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who started at a less-than-4-year institution.
  • Declaring a major at college entry : Males who declared a major at college entry had 25 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who did not declare a major.
  • Advisor interaction: Females who met with their college advisor in their first year at their institutions had 62 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who did not.
  • School clubs : Males participating in clubs in their first year at their institutions had 40 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who did not. Females participating in clubs in their first year at their institutions had 35 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who did not.
  • Work hours : The odds of completing a degree program for males who worked more than 20 hours a week, including work study programs, were 30 percent lower than the odds of completing a degree program for those who did not work.
  • Full-time enrollment: The odds of completing a degree program for males who were always enrolled full time in their postsecondary program were 2.3 times the odds for males who attended part time for some or all semesters. Females who were always enrolled full time in their postsecondary program had 92 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who attended part time for some or all semesters.
  • Stopouts : Each stopout in a male student's postsecondary education was associated with a 57 percent decrease in the odds of the student completing a degree program. Each stopout in a female student's postsecondary education was associated with a 62 percent decrease in the odds of the student completing a degree program.

Whites: Examining these factors separately for Whites, having a higher income quartile was related to a higher likelihood of degree attainment (table BPS-2). Other findings include the following:

  • Sex : White males had 28 percent lower odds of completing a degree program than White females.

  • Parents' educational attainment : White students whose parents had completed a bachelor's or higher degree had 46 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than students whose parents' educational attainment was high school completion or less education.
  • Highest high school math completed : White students whose highest high school math was algebra II/trigonometry had 34 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those whose highest high school math course was less than algebra II/trigonometry. White students whose highest high school math was precalculus/calculus had 92 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those whose highest high school math was less than precalculus or calculus.
  • Earned college-level credits in high school : White students who earned college credits in high school had 43 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who had not received any college credits.
  • SAT or ACT test taking: White students who took the SAT or ACT exams had 54 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who had not taken either exam.
  • First institution control : White students who started their postsecondary education at private for-profit institutions had 59 percent lower odds of completing a degree program than those who started in public institutions.
  • Attending a 4-year institution at entry : White students who began their postsecondary education at a 4-year institution had 63 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who started at a less-than-4-year institution.
  • Advisor interaction: White students who met with their college advisor in their first year at their institutions had 34 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who did not.
  • School clubs : White students participating in clubs in their first year at their institutions had 34 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who did not.
  • Work hours : White students who worked more than 20 hours a week, including work study programs, had 22 percent lower odds of completing a degree program than those who did not work.
  • Full-time enrollment: The odds of completing a degree program for White students who were always enrolled full time in their postsecondary program were more than twice the odds for those who attended part time for some or all semesters.
  • Stopouts : Each stopout in a White student's postsecondary education was associated with a 59 percent decrease in the odds of the student completing a degree program.

White Males and Females: Examining these factors separately for White males and White females, higher income quartiles were related to a higher likelihood of degree attainment for both groups (table BPS-3). Other findings include the following:

  • Parents' educational attainment : White females whose parents had completed a bachelor's or higher degree had 63 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those whose parents' educational attainment was high school completion or less education.
  • Highest high school math completed : White males whose highest math course in high school was algebra II/trigonometry had 65 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than White males whose highest math course was less than algebra II/trigonometry. The odds of completing a degree program for White males whose highest math in high school was precalculus/calculus were over twice the odds for White males whose highest math course was less than algebra II/trigonometry. White females whose highest math course was precalculus/ calculus had 82 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those whose highest math course was less than algebra II/ trigonometry.
  • Earned college-level credits in high school : White males who earned college credits in high school had 62 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who had not received any college credits. White females who earned college credits in high school had 28 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who had not received any college credits.
  • First institution control : White females who started their postsecondary education at private for-profit institutions had 74 percent lower odds of completing a degree program than those who started in public institutions.
  • Attending a 4-year institution at entry : White males who began their postsecondary education at a 4-year institution had 63 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who started at a less-than-4-year institution. White females who began their postsecondary education at a 4-year institution had 60 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who started at a less-than-4-year institution.
  • Advisor interaction: White females who met with their college advisor in their first year at their institutions had 67 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who did not.
  • Full-time enrollment: The odds of completing a degree program for White males who were always enrolled full time in their postsecondary program were 2.6 times the odds for those who attended part time for some or all semesters. White females who were always enrolled full time in their postsecondary program had 92 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who attended part time for some or all semesters.
  • Stopouts : Each stopout in a White male student's postsecondary education was associated with a 54 percent decrease in the odds of the student completing a degree program. Each stopout in a White female student's postsecondary education was associated with a 63 percent decrease in the odds of the student completing a degree program.

Blacks: Findings resulting from the examination of these factors separately for Blacks include the following (table BPS-2):

  • Sex : Black males had 35 percent lower odds of completing a degree program than Black females.
  • Parents' educational attainment : Black students whose parents had completed a bachelor's or higher degree had 60 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than students whose parents' educational attainment was high school completion or less education.
  • Attending a 4-year institution at entry : Black students who began their postsecondary education at a 4-year institution had 90 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who started at a less-than-4-year institution.
  • Declaring a major at college entry : Black students who declared a major at college entry had 70 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who did not declare a major.
  • School clubs : Black students participating in clubs in their first year at their institutions had 67 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who did not.
  • Stopouts : Each stopout in a Black student's postsecondary education was associated with a 63 percent decrease in the odds of the student completing a degree program.

Black Males and Females: Findings resulting from the examination of these factors separately for Black males and Black females include the following (table BPS-3):

  • Income quartile in 200304: The odds of completing a degree program for Black males who were in the highest income quartile were almost 4 times the odds for those in the lowest income quartile.
  • Full-time enrollment: The odds of completing a degree program for Black males who were always enrolled full time in their postsecondary program were 2.3 times the odds for those who attended part time for some or all semesters.
  • Parents' educational attainment : The odds of completing a degree program for Black females whose parents had completed a bachelor's or higher degree were 2.2 times the odds for those whose parents' educational attainment was high school completion or less education.
  • School clubs : Black females participating in clubs in their first year at their institutions had 65 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who did not.
  • Stopouts : Each stopout in a Black female student's postsecondary education was associated with a 68 percent decrease in the odds of the student completing a degree program.

Hispanics: Examining these factors separately for Hispanics, the highest income quartile was related to a higher likelihood of degree attainment (table BPS-2). Other findings include the following:

  • First institution control : Hispanic students who started their postsecondary education at private for-profit institutions had 62 percent lower odds of completing a degree program than those who started in public institutions.
  • Attending a 4-year institution at entry : Hispanic students who began their postsecondary education at a 4-year institution had 77 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who started at a less-than-4-year institution.
  • Full-time enrollment: Hispanic students who were always enrolled full time in their postsecondary program had 93 percent higher odds of completing a degree program than those who attended part time for some or all semesters.
  • Stopouts : Each stopout in a Hispanic student's postsecondary education was associated with a 55 percent decrease in the odds of the student completing a degree program.

Hispanic Males and Females: Findings resulting from the examination of these factors separately for Hispanic males and Hispanic females include the following (table BPS-3):

  • Attending a 4-year institution at entry: The odds of completing a degree program for Hispanic males who began their postsecondary education at a 4-year institution were 2.6 times the odds for those who started at a less-than-4- year institution.
  • First institution control : Hispanic females who started their postsecondary education at private for-profit institutions had 73 percent lower odds of completing a degree program than those who started in public institutions.
  • Full-time enrollment: The odds of completing a degree program for Hispanic females who were always enrolled full time in their postsecondary program were 2.6 times the odds for those who attended part time for some or all semesters.
  • Stopouts : Each stopout in a Hispanic male student's postsecondary education was associated with a 59 percent decrease in the odds of the student completing a degree program. Each stopout in a Hispanic female student's postsecondary education was associated with a 53 percent decrease in the odds of the student completing a degree program.

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Table E-BPS-1 Percentage distribution of 200304 beginning postsecondary students who were recent high school graduates, by June 2009 degree attainment status and other selected characteristics

Table E-BPS-2 Summary of logistic regression analyses for variables predicting that recent high school graduates who entered a postsecondary institution in academic year 200304 would have completed an associate's or bachelor's degree as of spring 2009, overall and by race/ethnicity and sex: 200409

Table E-BPS-3 Summary of logistic regression analyses for variables predicting that recent high school graduates who entered a postsecondary institution in academic year 200304 would have completed an associate's or bachelor's degree as of spring 2009, overall and by race/ethnicity and sex: 200409


11 In the BPS sample, recent high school graduates are students who graduated from high school in 2003 or 2004. BPS data are collected at the end of the first year of postsecondary enrollment. A small number of students in the sample (fewer than 150) reported that they graduated from high school in 2004. Students who were enrolled in high school and at a postsecondary institution concurrently were not eligible to be sampled for the BPS; however, students who completed high school in 2004 and then enrolled in a postsecondary course by June 2004 were eligible to be sampled.

  
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