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Reports are listed by publication year, in descending order.


A Profile of Successful Pell Grant Recipients: Time to Bachelor's Degree and Early Graduate School Enrollment

By Christina Chang Wei and Laura Horn

This report describes characteristics of college graduates who received Pell Grants and compares them to graduates who were not Pell Grant recipients. For both groups of graduates, data from the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:2000/01) were analyzed to determine the time it took them to complete a bachelor's degree as well as the percentage who enrolled in graduate school within one year of college graduation.

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Descriptive Summary of 2003–04 Beginning Postsecondary Students: Three Years Later

By Lutz K. Berkner and Susan P. Choy

Using data from the 2004/06 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/06), this report provides a description of the characteristics and enrollment patterns of a nationally representative sample of students who began postsecondary education for the first time during the 2003–04 academic year. The report describes the background, academic preparation, and experience of these beginning students over 3 academic years, from July 2003 to June 2006, and provides information about their rates of persistence, program completion, transfer, and attrition. The focus is on differences among students beginning at either 4–year, 2–year, or less–than–2–year institutions. Some highlights: Most of the first–time students who began at 4–year institutions in 2003–04 were age 19 or younger (85 percent) compared to 54 percent of students who began at 2–year institutions and 32 percent who began at less–than–2–year institutions. Among those under age 24 who began at a 4–year institution, nearly all (94 percent) had taken algebra II or higher mathematics courses in high school, and about one–fourth had taken calculus. Of students who began at a 4–year institution, about one–half had a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher, and about one–fourth had earned credit for courses taken at a college while still in high school. Eighteen percent of the students who began at a 4–year institution in 2003–04 transferred from the institution where they had started.

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Part-Time Undergraduates in Postsecondary Education: 2003–04

By Xianglei Chen

This report uses data from the 2003–04 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:2004) to profile part-time undergraduates enrolled in U.S. postsecondary institutions in 2003–04. About 49 percent of undergraduates were enrolled exclusively full time in the 2003–04 academic year, 35 percent were enrolled exclusively part time, and 16 percent had mixed enrollment intensity. Part-time undergraduates, especially exclusively part-time students, were at a distinct disadvantage relative to those who were enrolled full time: they came from minority and low-income family backgrounds; they were not as well-prepared for college as their full-time peers; they were highly concentrated in 2-year colleges and nondegree/certificate programs; and many of them worked full time while enrolled and were not enrolled continuously. Using longitudinal data from the 1996/01 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:96/01), the report also found that part-time enrollment was negatively associated with persistence and degree completion six years after beginning postsecondary education even after controlling for a wide range of factors related to these outcomes. This was the case even for the group of students with characteristics that fit the typical profile of a full-time student (i.e., age 23 or younger, financially dependent on parents, graduated from high school with a regular diploma, and received financial help from parents to pay for postsecondary education). Regardless of whether they resembled full-time students, part-time students (especially exclusively part-time students) lagged behind their full-time peers in terms of their postsecondary outcomes even after controlling for a variety of related factors.

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Profile of Undergraduates in U.S. Postsecondary Education Institutions: 2003?04 With a Special Analysis of Community College Students

By Laura Horn and Stephanie Nevill

This report is the fifth in a series of reports that accompany the release of the data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS). This report includes an analysis of community college students, examining the relationship between a measure of students’degree commitment and their likelihood of maintaining their enrollment over the 1-year period under study. The study developed a taxonomy called the Community College Track, which classifies students’ degree commitment?more, less, or not committed? based on their reported intentions of completing a program of study (transfer, associates degree, certificate, or no degree) and their attendance status (at least half time or not) within their program of study. Overall, some 49 percent of community college students were classified as “more committed,” 39 percent as “less committed” and 12 percent as “not committed.” The two largest groups were students classified as “more committed” in transfer programs (29 percent) and “less committed” in general associate’s degree programs (17 percent). The results indicate that students who demonstrate a relatively strong commitment to completing a program of study (i.e., they explicitly report that either transfer or degree completion are reasons for attending and they attend classes at least half time) are very likely to maintain their enrollment for one year. Some 83 percent of the “more committed,” students did so, compared with 70 percent of “less committed” and 58 percent of those designated as “not committed.”

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Independent Undergraduates: 1999–2000

By Christina Chang Wei, Stephanie Nevill, Lutz Berkner

This report provides a comprehensive look at independent students who were enrolled in postsecondary education in the United States and Puerto Rico in 1999?2000. Independent students are assumed to be financially self-sufficient and no longer dependent upon their parents to support them or finance their education. Many independent students work full time and attend community colleges or other postsecondary institutions that are geared toward career training in specialized fields such as health, technology, and business. Working as many hours as they do, independent students are more likely to enroll in postsecondary institutions part time. They are less likely than dependent students to apply for financial aid, and are less likely to apply for it on time, or before the typical May 1 deadline for state and institutional aid. Among those who do apply for aid, independent students are less likely than dependent students to receive state and institutional grants, more likely to receive Pell Grants and, although they are less likely to take out student loans, the average amount they borrow is larger. Being married or having children are characteristics common to independent students, and while being married can raise one?s income, having children can increase one?s living expenses considerably.

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Waiting to Attend College: Undergraduates Who Delay Their Postsecondary Enrollment

By Laura Horn, Emily Forrest Cataldi, and Anna Sikora

This report describes the characteristics and outcomes of students who delay enrollment in postsecondary education. It covers the ways in which the demographic, enrollment, and attendance patterns of students who delay postsecondary enrollment differ from their peers who enroll immediately after high school graduation. In addition, the report discusses how students who delay a shorter amount of time differ from those who delay longer. It is based on data from the 2000 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:2000), the 2000 follow-up of the National Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88/2000), and the 2001 follow-up of the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:96/01). Delayed entrants began their postsecondary education at a significant disadvantage compared to those who enrolled immediately after high school with regard to family income, parental education, academic preparation, time spent working while enrolled, and course of study. While only a quarter of those who delayed entry first enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs, over half of those who enrolled immediately did so. Further, 40 percent of delayed entrants earned some kind of postsecondary credential compared with 58 percent of immediate entrants.

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The Road Less Traveled? Students Who Enroll in Multiple Institutions

By Katharin Peter and Emily Forrest Cataldi

This report profiles students who attended multiple institutions - specifically those who co-enrolled (attended more than one institution simultaneously), transferred, or attended 2-year institutions. It looks at the extent to which undergraduates attend multiple institutions as well as the relationship between student' rates of multiple institution attendance and their persistence, attainment, and time to degree. Analysis is based on data from the 1996-01 Beginning Postsecondary Student Study and the 2000-01 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study. The study found that attending more than one institution during the course of undergraduate enrollment is a common practice. Among students enrolling for the first time in 1995/96, 40 percent had attended more than one institution as of 2001, while among 1999/2000 college graduates, nearly 60 percent had done so.Among those same graduates, transferring and co-enrolling were associated with longer average times to completion.

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Work First, Study Second: Adult Undergraduates Who Combine Employment and Postsecondary Enrollment

By Ali Berker and Laura Horn

Most older students combine employment and postsecondary schooling, but some consider themselves to be primarily students (who work), while others emphasize their role as employees (who study). This analysis compares two groups of working adult undergraduates enrolled in 1999–2000 according to the emphasis or importance they placed on work versus postsecondary enrollment. The analysis addresses the following questions regarding working adult undergraduates (age 24 or older): How do the demographic characteristics of students who identify themselves as employees who study differ from those who identify themselves as students who work? How do the employment and attendance patterns of these two groups of students differ? How do employees who study and students who work differ in where they enroll and what they study? How do employees who study differ from students who work in their reliance on financial aid? How successful are the two groups in completing their postsecondary programs of study?

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Community College Students: Goals, Academic Preparation, and Outcomes

By Gary Hoachlander, Anna Sikora, and Laura Horn

This report provides information on the varying goals, preparation, and outcomes of community college students using 3 different data sources. Although educational objectives vary among students enrolled in community colleges, most students say they desire a formal credential, either from the community college or through transfer to a 4-year institution. Controlling for student objective and ignoring those who do not seek a certificate or degree, between 40 and 50 percent of students who first enrolled in a community college had attained a credential within 6 to 8 years. An additional 12 to 13 percent had not attained a credential but had transferred to a 4-year institution.

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Descriptive Summary of 1995-96 Beginning Postsecondary Students: Six Years Later

By Lutz Berkner, Shirley He, and Emily Forrest Cataldi

This report describes the enrollment, persistence, and degree attainment of students who began postsecondary education for the first time in the 1995–96 academic year. It covers the experiences of these first-time beginners over a period of six academic years, from 1995–96 to 2000–01, and provides information about the rates at which students completed degrees, transferred to other institutions, and left postsecondary education without attaining degrees. It provides direct comparisons of the institutional retention and completion rates of undergraduates at the first institution attended versus the persistence and attainment rates of the same group of students anywhere in postsecondary education after six years. Separate tables are presented for students who began at public 2-year, public 4-year, and private not-for-profit 4-year institutions, including information on persistence, transfers, stopouts, and degree attainment at the end of each of the six years. The report is based on the 1996/01 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:96/01), a National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) survey that provides data describing a nationally representative sample of first-time students who entered postsecondary education during the 1995–96 academic year.

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A Profile of Participation in Distance Education: 1999-2000

By Anna Sikora

This report profiles undergraduate and graduate students’ participation in distance education in 1999–2000. The report discusses student demographic characteristics associated with distance education participation as well as different types of distance education technology and students’ satisfaction with their distance education courses compared to their regular courses. Results show that students with characteristics associated with greater family and work responsibilities tend to participate in distance education at higher rates than their counterparts with fewer family and work responsibilities.

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Profile of Undergraduates in U.S. Postsecondary Education Institutions: 1999-2000

By Laura Horn, Katharin Peter, and Kathryn Rooney

This report provides a detailed statistical overview of the approximately 16.5 million undergraduates enrolled in all U.S. postsecondary institutions in 1999-2000. Preceding the detailed statistical tables is a discussion of the undergraduate population's diversity and the possible impact of this diversity on persistence in postsecondary education.

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Descriptive Summary of 1995-96 Beginning Postsecondary Students: Three Years Later, With an Essay on Students Who Started at Less-Than-4-Year Institutions

By Lutz Berkner, Laura Horn, and Michael Clune

This report examines the persistence and degree attainment after three years for students who began postsecondary education in 1995-96. The essay focuses on students in less-than-4-year institutions, comparing those who started at public institutions with those who started at private, for-profit institutions. The analysis examines degree programs, goals, and enrollment patterns for the two sectors. One of the main questions addressed is why students who begin at less-than-4-year public institutions have lower rates of attainment than those who begin at private, for-profit institutions.

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Students at Private For-Profit Institutions

By Ronald Phipps, Kathryn Harrison, and Jamie Merisotis

Postsecondary education provided to students in private, for-profit institutions has been the topic of frequent-and sometimes controversial-public policy action in recent years. Among the most important of those actions were changes implemented in the 1992 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that resulted in significant declines in overall participation by students at private, for-profit institutions in federal student aid programs. This report examines the financing patterns of students at these institutions and profiles changes in their demographic and enrollment characteristics between 1992-93 and 1995–96. It also includes a special focus on students attending 4-year, for-profit postsecondary institutions that offer programs leading to a baccalaureate degree.

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Descriptive Summary of 1995-96 Beginning Postsecondary Students: With Profiles of Students Entering 2- and 4-Year Institutions

By Lawrence Kojaku and Anne-Marie Nunez

This essay examines the characteristics and first-year behaviors of beginning postsecondary students entering the three largest institutional sectors. In particular, it explores the various ways in which students entering 2-year and 4-year institutions in 1995-96 differ from one another.

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Students With Disabilities in Postsecondary Education: A Profile of Preparation, Participation, and Outcomes

By Laura Horn and Jennifer Berktold

This report describes and analyzes the experiences of students with disabilities enrolled in postsecondary education. There are four sections to the report: 1) a descriptive profile of undergraduates with disabilities who are enrolled in postsecondary education; 2) an analysis of who gains access to postsecondary education among high school students with disabilities; 3) a discussion of how well students with disabilities persist to degree attainment; and 4) a look at the early employment and graduate school enrollment of bachelor's degree recipients.

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Profile of Undergraduates in U.S. Postsecondary Education Institutions: 1995-96: With an essay on: Undergraduates Who Work

By Laura Horn and Jennifer Berktold

This report profiles undergraduates who were enrolled in U.S. postsecondary institutions in the academic year 1995-96. It begins with an essay that explores the extent to which undergraduates work while they are enrolled in school.

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Descriptive Summary of 1989-90 Beginning Postsecondary Students: 5 Years Later, With an Essay on Postsecondary Persistence and Attainment

By Lutz Berkner, Stephanie Cuccaro-Alamin, and Alexander McCormick

This report describes the status after 5 years of diverse groups of students who first entered postsecondary education during the academic year 1989-90. It describes their economic and demographic characteristics, their educational objectives, the types of institutions they attended, their experiences while enrolled, their persistence and attainment through the spring of 1994. In addition, the report describes the work experiences of these first-time students, both while enrolled and after they left postsecondary education.

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A Descriptive Summary of 1992-93 Bachelor's Degree Recipients 1 Year Later: With an Essay on Time to Degree

By Alexander McCormick and Laura Horn

This report provides a detailed profile of the population of 1992-93 bachelor's degree recipients, with particular attention to the amount of time taken to complete the degree, an issue of intense interest to students, parents, policy makers, and administrators.

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Profile of Part-Time Undergraduates in Postsecondary Education: 1989–90

By Alexander McCormick and Sonya Geis

This report describes part-time students enrolled in 1989–90, and examines their part-time enrollment relative to various student and institutional characteristics. These characteristics include grades earned, duration of part-time enrollment, and the receipt of financial aid.

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Profile of Older Undergraduates: 1989–90

By Susan Choy and Mark Premo

This report describes the participation of undergraduates 24 years and older in postsecondary education. It compares older to younger students in relation to demographics, enrollment patterns, employment, and receipt of financial aid. The report subsequently examines sub-groups of older students, including students who worked full time, enrolled less than half time, enrolled without a high school diploma, and who were single parents. It also examines the persistence of older students who enrolled for the first time in 1989–90.

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Descriptive Summary of 1989-90 Beginning Postsecondary Students: Two Years Later

By Robert Fitzgerald, Lutz Berkner, Susan Choy, and E. Gareth Hoachlander

This report is a descriptive summary of the first follow-up data for the 1990/92 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:90/92). The BPS Study is a comprehensive source of information on enrollment, persistence, and attainment in postsecondary education for students who began their postsecondary education in 1989-90. The BPS data also include detailed information about financial aid, employment, family formation, and civic and political participation of these students. Unlike previous longitudinal studies of postsecondary students, BPS:90/92 includes all first time students, regardless of when they completed high school.

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