When it comes to college degree completion, there are a number of factors that play a role, and institutional and demographic characteristics can have a significant impact. For example, black students are much more likely to stop out than their white counterparts. Hispanic women are also more likely to complete a certificate or degree than their white counterparts.
Stop-out rates were highest among black students compared to white students
Stop-out rates among black students were significantly higher than those of white students, highlighting a need for culturally relevant support programs. Research conducted by Li (2010), Terriquez and Gurantz (2014), and the UPP/SMF Study (Supplement to Signature Report 12) analyzed student motivations for stopping out. The study found that the largest proportion of students stopped out because of personal and family issues. Just under a quarter of students cited money, disinterest in their school, or personal issues such as stress or family obligations.
Black men were the only group of students to have the lowest completion rate and the highest stop-out rate. Approximately half of the Black students who began at two-year public institutions dropped out by the end of the study period. This was followed by Hispanic students.
Black and Hispanic students are significantly less likely to graduate than Asian and White students. While the differences in drop out and default rates between these two groups are likely due to racial differences in institutional reputation and employment opportunities, the findings suggest that differences in drop out and default rates are not caused by wide racial differences in academic performance.
Although drop out rates and default rates among FCA differed from their non-FCA peers, their overall GPAs were comparable. However, their time to graduation was longer. In fact, their time to graduation was longer by a factor of two for every one point increase in their GPA.
These results highlight the need for precollegiate programs designed to maintain enrollment for FCA. Students who are actively involved in the academic community and who have good relationships with faculty and staff are more likely to persist.
First-generation students are also at an increased risk for stop-out. These findings indicate that there is an adverse effect for low-income, first-generation college students who stop out on graduation. It is important to understand the effects of stop-outs on these students, so that policies and programs can be developed to mitigate these issues.
Despite the negative effects of stopping out, it is essential that precollegiate programs for FCA are designed with an understanding of their need for culturally-relevant support programs. The research identifies factors that contribute to early stop-out, including financial stress, mental health concerns, and difficulties making relationships with academic staff.
Traditional-age students tend to have higher completion rates than adult learners
Traditional-age students have higher completion rates than their adult counterparts. However, this is not true across the board. There are a few key differences between the two. For example, adults have to contend with multiple responsibilities, such as work, family, and their education. This can make it difficult to find time to study.
In order to compare the difference between traditional and adult-age student success, researchers compared four different groups of students. These groups represented the bulk of the fall 2010 cohort. They included white, Asian, Hispanic, and black students. The white student group had the highest completion rate, with an impressive 67.2 percent.
The Asian and black groups had nearly identical completion rates. The largest gap between these groups was at the starting institution. The difference is not a result of differences in the number of courses completed, though. Instead, it’s a result of differences in their initial institution’s completion rate.
While white and Asian students had the highest completion rates, they did not have the highest stop-out rate. Black students were the most likely to stop out, with a 35.3 percent rate.
Despite this, the most important completion-related fact is that the average white student completed his or her degree at a higher rate than the average black student. That said, there are several factors that could explain the gap. Some of these include financial aid, selectivity, and campus climate.
Historically, black and Asian students have had a disparity in completion rates. But these differences have been smaller as students grow older. Moreover, the smallest difference is not due to differences in starting institutions, but instead due to differences in the age of first entry.
One study found that traditional-age students had a higher completion rate than their delayed-entry counterparts. This is particularly the case when the latter’s rate is based on the number of credits completed. Likewise, delayed-entry students had a higher completion rate than the typical white student.
Overall, adult learners and their traditional peers are at a disadvantage. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to close the gap.
Institutional characteristics can play a large role
Higher education in the United States has often been subject to inequities. In particular, black and Hispanic students have had a lower college completion rate than white and Asian students. However, research has shown that this is a complicated issue, and that it may be caused by a number of factors.
One of the most important factors is selectivity. For instance, some institutions have a much larger student body of black and Hispanic students than others. Moreover, for-profit colleges are known to have a large black student population. This may cause advisers to discourage black students from enrolling in these types of degree programs, or from pursuing degrees that cost more.
Other factors include financial aid. For example, black and Hispanic graduates are more likely to attend institutions with less funding. They also are less likely to attend four-year public or nonprofit institutions.
As a result, public colleges and universities are under pressure to improve minority student completion rates. To address this, they should break down outcomes data by demographic group. By doing so, they can hold themselves accountable when they fall short. It also allows for a more nuanced analysis.
A study of nine hundred twenty-five thousand students from six hundred forty-seven schools found that the race and ethnicity of a person’s first postsecondary institution can affect the likelihood that they will complete a degree. The study found that traditional-age white and Asian students had the highest rate of completion, while delayed-entry students were more likely to stop out of school.
When comparing race and ethnicity with enrollment, however, the findings are even more dramatic. Black and Hispanic students are more likely to be older when they start college, and they are more likely to begin in community colleges or two-year public institutions. These trajectories could accumulate disadvantages over time, increasing the likelihood that students will not complete a degree.
Ultimately, it is necessary to study effective strategies for achieving equity. For example, it might be necessary to create mixed enrollment programs that allow students to switch from full-time to part-time, or from work to family circumstances.
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