Student rates

Average college student not on track to finish college in

HERNDON, VA, Aug. 02, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — According to the Post-Secondary Data Partnership (PDP) Outlook Report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

“This is the first-ever report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center that uses real-world credit information and focuses on early momentum metrics such as first-year credit accumulation rate and retention rate. completion of credits,” said Dr. Afet Dundar, Director, Equity in Research and Analytics at the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center and one of the report’s authors. “College and university administrators and practitioners can use these measures to design effective and timely support for students who need it most, while students are still enrolled. Otherwise, students will continue to fall behind academically and financially by not completing their studies as soon as possible.

The 2022 PDP Insights report focuses on two primary metrics: student first-year credit completion (CCR) rate and credit accumulation rate (CAR). CCR is the ratio of credits earned to credits attempted. The CAR measures the timely accumulation of college credits by students by identifying the proportion of students who have exceeded specific credit hour thresholds during a given period.

Other key findings include:

  • Only 51% of full-time students earned 24 or more credit hours in their first year. Less than a third (28%) earned 30 or more credit hours. The average full-time student doesn’t even attempt to earn enough credits to earn a bachelor’s degree in four years. In their first year of study, the average full-time student attempted fewer than 27 credits and earned fewer than 22.
  • Students earn approximately 75% of the credits they attempt, on average students earn nine credit hours for every 12 credits they attempt. However, this rate varies significantly by race/ethnicity, enrollment intensity, college readiness, degree sought, and type of institution. For example, black males earn the equivalent of a 3 credit hour course less than their white and Asian peers in their freshman year.
  • The biggest gaps between students trying to get credit and those getting it are on the dimensions of gender, race/ethnicity, and enrollment intensity. For example, among women, the percentage of Asian students who earned 30 or more credits in their freshman year was more than double that of their Black/African American and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander peers.
  • Adult learners (over 24) achieved consistently lower CARs and CCRs in their first year compared to their younger counterparts, even after accounting for enrollment intensity.

The students in this analysis are first-time degree-seeking students entering a PDP participating institution in the 2019-2020 cohort. The cohort for this report consists of 905,689 unique student enrollments at 342 unique post-secondary institutions. Institutions are actively registering for the PDP. None of the findings in this report should be taken as representative of the national student population. These students started at a PDP institution in Fall 2019, Winter 2019, Spring 2020, or Summer 2020 and were pursuing an undergraduate certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, there are approximately 16 million students enrolled in higher education nationwide.

About the Post-Secondary Data Partnership

The Post-Secondary Data Partnership (PDP) is a service of the National Student Clearinghouse created in 2017 to give institutions more complete data, easier analysis, centralized reporting functions and interactive visualizations to help understand, improve and communicate momentum, results and student achievement. equity.

The data provided by participating PDP institutions is unique to existing national public and private sources. PDP data captures rich information about students, including demographics, high school performance, college placement, enrollment and graduation, and combines these data points with information about financial aid, including Pell Grant eligibility, and detailed records of courses taken, including courses enrolled, grades, credits attempted, credits earned, etc.

This data allows both the single examination of many parameters of early momentum, such as credit accumulation and course completion by students, as well as the exploration of equity gaps across multiple dimensions, such as gender, student race/ethnicity, enrollment intensity, university. placement level, and more. For more information, visit

About the National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center™

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center is the research arm of the National Student Clearinghouse. The Research Center collaborates with institutions of higher learning, states, school districts, high schools, and educational organizations as part of a nationwide effort to better inform education officials and policy makers. Through accurate reporting of results from longitudinal data, the Research Center enables better education policy decisions that lead to better student outcomes.

The Research Center currently collects data from more than 3,600 post-secondary institutions, which represent 97% of the nation’s post-secondary enrollment at degree-granting institutions, as of 2019. Clearinghouse data tracks enrollment nationwide and are not limited by institutional and state borders. To learn more, visit


  • Students not trying or earning enough credits each year