Transfer and Completion

Graduation rates

Most beginning community college students intend to earn a certificate or degree, although less than half do so even after six years. The institutional graduation rates reported by Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System is the most well known indicator of graduation rates and perhaps of all indicators of community college student success overall. Because these statistics are reported annually according to a standard formula, they can be compared over time and across states and individual institutions. A major limitation of this indicator is that it only counts first-time, full-time students who begin in the fall, but most community college students initially enroll part time (often due to family or work responsibilities) and are not included. The prevalence of part-time enrollment as well as the high rate of participation in developmental education courses that do not count toward graduation requirements have led to other indicators of community college completion for periods as long as six years.