Summer Credits Earned: United States

Percentage of U.S. community college students who completed summer credits within six years, by demographic and enrollment characteristics

What Is Measured?

Percentage of students who completed any summer credits after six years

Who Is Counted?

First-time college students who first enrolled in U.S. community colleges in the 2003-04 academic year as of spring 2009

What It Tells Us

More than two-fifths of U.S. community college students completed summer credits within six years. Nearly half of women (49 percent) completed summer credits, compared with just 38 percent of men, and students who attended exclusively full time were more likely to complete summer credits than students who attended exclusively part time (45 percent vs. 26 percent). Likewise, students who took developmental education courses were more likely to complete summer credits than students who never took developmental education courses (47 percent vs. 40 percent).

Why It's Important

Taking classes in the summer expedites students' progress to degree attainment or transfer. Summer enrollment contributes to faster credit accumulation and reflects students' commitment to academic achievement. In the research, taking summer classes is often associated with higher completion rates.

About the Data

Summer terms: defined as any term that started in May, June, July, or August and ended in June, July, or August.

Credits: were normalized by placing hours or credit units received for a course on a common scale so that credit units can be compared across students and institutions.

Race/ethnicity: Other includes Native American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and individuals who indicated Other or Two or more races. Race categories exclude Hispanic/Latino origin unless specified.

Income percentile rank: calculated separately for dependent and independent students and then combined. Each ranking thus compares the respondent only to other respondents of the same dependency status. Uses parents' income if respondent is dependent and uses respondent's own income if respondent is independent.

Social sciences and humanities: includes cultural and gender studies; visual and performing arts; English language and literature; family and consumer sciences; philosophy, theology, and religious studies; psychology; social sciences and history; and liberal arts, general studies, and humanities.

STEM: includes agricultural and natural resource studies; biological and biomedical sciences; computer and information sciences and support; engineering; mathematics and statistics; physical sciences; science technologies and technicians; and engineering technologies and related fields.

Full-time/part-time enrollment: indicates student's cumulative enrollment through 2009. Full-time is defined as 12 or more credit hours per semester.

Data Source

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003-04 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study, Second Follow-up (BPS:04/09) Postsecondary Education Transcript Study (PETS:09).