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

As of 2001, 40 percent of students who enrolled in postsecondary education for the first time in 1995–96 had attended more than one institution (table 2). Over the course of the undergraduate education of 1999–2000 college graduates (first-time bachelor’s degree recipients), a majority (59 percent) had attended more than one institution (figure 3). Even among 1999–2000 bachelor’s degree recipients who began in 4-year institutions, about 47 percent had attended another institution at some point with or without transferring (table 8-A). Much of the research on students who attend multiple institutions has focused on those who make a permanent transition from one institution to another (Bradburn and Hurst 2001; McCormick 1997). For the most part, previous literature has not reported on the other ways in which students enroll in multiple institutions, including co-enrollment (i.e., attending more than one institution simultaneously, also called “overlapping enrollment” or “dual enrollment”) and attending another institution without transferring from the first institution. The purpose of this study is to provide an overview of the extent to which undergraduates attend multiple institutions as well as the relationship between multiple institution attendance and persistence, attainment, and time to degree. Students who attended multiple institutions are the population of interest here. Subsets of this population will also be examined—specifically, those who:

  • Attended two or more institutions at one time (co-enrolled),

  • Transferred between institutions, or

  • Began at a 4-year institution and attended a 2-year institution at some point.

This report focuses on both 1995–96 beginning postsecondary students and 1999–2000 bachelor’s degree recipients and is organized by survey and beginning institution type.

This analysis uses data from the 1996/01 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:96/01) and the 2000/01 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:2000/01). BPS:96/01 is a longitudinal survey of students who first began their postsecondary education in 1995–96. The last follow-up survey was conducted in 2001, 6 years after students began their postsecondary education, by which time some students were no longer enrolled in postsecondary education, some had completed degrees or certificates, and some remained enrolled. B&B:2000/01 provides data on students who received a bachelor’s degree in the 1999–2000 academic year, regardless of when they began their postsecondary education. Both studies used in this report are based on a representative sample of postsecondary education institutions in the United States and Puerto Rico and the students within those institutions. This analysis examines differences in student enrollment patterns using standard t-tests to determine statistical significance, and a two-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) to detect differential changes by testing for interaction effects. Statistical significances for both tests are reported at p<0.05.

USER NOTE: This publication is best viewed using a screen resolution of at least 800x600 pixels. For instructions on how to change your screen resolution, please see NCES Help.

next section