Information Brief 2013-5
Associate’s Degree Completion Rates
for a sample of two-year postsecondary institutions
A recent ACT study (Radunzel & Noble, 2012) based on more than 40 two-year postsecondary institutions found that degree completion rates varied substantially across institutions. The three-year associate’s degree completion rate for incoming, first-time, ACT-tested freshmen ranged from 4% to 34% across institutions. The typical rate was 14%.
The middle fifty percent of the institutional rates ranged from 10% to 21% (25th and 75th percentiles shown in the figure below). Fewer than one-fifth (16%) of the institutions had a rate of 25% or higher. These findings illustrate the great variability in degree completion rates across two-year institutions.
Institutional Three-Year Associate’s Degree Completion Rates
|Degree Completion Rates||Percent of Participating Institutions|
|30% to 35%||7%|
|25% to less than 30%||9%|
|20% to less than 25%||9%|
|15% to less than 20%||23%|
|10% to less than 15%||28%|
|5% to less than 10%||21%|
|0% to less than 5%||2%|
|Percentile||Degree Completion Rate|
|75th Percentile (Q3)||21%|
|50th Percentile (Median, Q2)||14%|
|25th Percentile (Q1)||10%|
Note: Based on data from more than 40 two-year postsecondary institutions and nearly 68,000 ACT-tested students who enrolled in one of these institutions as a first-time entering student in fall, 2000 through 2006. The sample used in the study may not be representative of all US two-year postsecondary institutions.
The five parts to the boxplot include the minimum, the 25th percentile, the 50th percentile (median), the 75th percentile, and the maximum. For a more detailed description of the study, including characteristics of the institutions included, see the full ACT Research Report.
Radunzel, J., & Noble, J. (2012). Predicting long-term college success through degree completion using ACT Composite score, ACT Benchmarks, and high school grade point average. (ACT Research Report No. 2012-5). Iowa City, IA: ACT, Inc.
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