College Milestones

Persistence to Second Year: Michigan

Percentage of all first-time degree- or certificate-seeking students who persisted to a second year at the same community college

What Is Measured?

Percentage of students who were enrolled in the fall of the second year in the same community college, by initial attendance status.

Who Is Counted?

All first-time degree- or certificate-seeking students who first enrolled in Michigan Community Colleges in fall terms.

What It Tells Us

Among degree- or certificate-seeking students who first enrolled full time in Michigan Community Colleges in fall 2013, about 56 percent of full-time students persisted to fall 2014, while 42 percent of part-time students did so.

Why It's Important

Persistence generally refers to the duration of enrollment maintained by students as they pursue a degree or transfer, whether from term-to-term or year-to-year. Some indicators of persistence, such as the one-year persistence rate reported by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, only count students who remain enrolled at the community college where they first enrolled, while sources such as the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study also measure persistence for students who transfer institutions. Persistence to the second year appears to be the most pivotal indicator of success, since community college students are more likely to drop out in their first year than during any of the next five years. Since most associate degree and transfer programs require the equivalent of two years of full-time enrollment, and longer for part-time enrollment, persistence to the second year and beyond is essential for many students to achieve their goals.

About the Data

Degree- or certificate-seeking student: a student enrolled in for-credit courses and who is recognized by the institution as seeking a degree, certificate, or other formal award. The formal definition of “degree-seeking” or “certificate-seeking” varies by state.

First-time student: a student who has no prior postsecondary experience attending any institution for the first time at the undergraduate level. This category includes students enrolled in academic or occupational programs.

Full-time student: a student enrolled for 12 or more semester credits, for 12 or more quarter credits, or for 24 or more contact hours a week each term.

Comparable data are not available prior to 2007. Data from the most recent year may not be final and are subject to revision.

Data Source

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).