US: Latest Progress Report Shows College Dropout Numbers Surge by 1.4 Million

United States North America Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News May 05, 2023

student at library

A new report has revealed that the number of learners in the United States who quit college without completing their degrees rose by 3.6 percent from July 2020 to the same month in 2021, resulting in an additional 1.4 million people on top of the 39 million individuals reported last year.

According to the “Some College, No Credential (SCNC)” report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, the number of students dropping out of college has reached 40.4 million as of July 2021, reports.

The report states that a lack of re-enrollment and an additional 2.3 million new students dropping out of college led to the large increase recorded in all 50 US states and Washington D.C.

“Approximately 2.9 million (or 7.3% of the SCNC population) are “potential completers” who have already made at least two years’ worth of academic progress up until their last enrollment,” the report points out.

Data show that fewer students enrolled again at college, an 8.4 percent decrease compared to the previous year, fewer obtained their degrees within the same year of re-enrollment (53,300 students), an 11.8 percent drop, or preserved into their second year of re-enrollment at college, a 4.3 percent drop.

First Year Earners in 2021_22

At last enrollment, most students attending some college but not earning a credential were under 35. The number of students completing two years of university before withdrawing, known as “potential completers,” and recent stop-outs were relatively young, with 24.6 percent of those dropping out being under 20 and 55.6 percent of potential completers in their early 20s.

Data further shows that potential completers and those withdrawing temporarily from the university were more likely to enroll again, 6.1 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively, as well as to earn their degrees within one year after re-enrolling, 11.6 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively.

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When we track over a two-year period after re-enrolling, 15.4 percent or 145,900 of the 944,200 re-enrollees in AY 2020/21 earned their first ever credential: 6.4 percent (60,500) earned in their first year of re-enrollment and 9.0 percent (85,400) in their second year of re-enrollment,” the report adds.

The majority of some college but no credential students (57.9 percent) who completed their diploma in one year after re-enrolling at college earned either associate or bachelor’s degrees. On the other hand, most Black completers, or 51.6 percent, earned a certificate, and 80.4 percent of potential completers were more likely to get a bachelor’s or associate degree despite their race or ethnicity.

According to data by the National Center for Education Statistics, a US Department of Education institute that publishes data on education, 2.0 million status dropouts were registered in 2020 among 16- and 24-year-olds. Overall, the status dropout rate was 5.3 percent.

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