Third Try Isn’t The Charm

Career College Central summary:

  • Community college students face long odds of eventually earning a bachelor’s degree. And those odds get worse if they leave college more than once along the way.
  • That is the central finding of a new study that tracked the progress of 38,000 community college students in Texas. Toby J. Park, an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy at Florida State University, conducted the research. His working paper was presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education in St. Louis.
  • The group of students he studied first enrolled in 2000. Among them, fully 94 percent “stopped out” of college at least once, by experiencing a "period of non-enrollment."
  • Most of the students returned to their studies, according to the paper, which is titled “Stop-Out and Time for Work: An Analysis of Degree Trajectories for Community College Students.” More than 20,000, or 72 percent, of the cohort came back to some Texas college in the sample, which used data from the Texas Education Agency, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the state's comptroller.
  • Even students who eventually earned a bachelor’s degree were likely to spend time away from college. Only 13 percent of the 6,200 four-year degree-holders in the sample did not stop out.

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