Social Indicators Predicting Postsecondary Success

ReportFamiliesApr 1 2014

Only about 59 percent of full-time, first-time students at four-year institutions complete such a degree within six years at the same school. Completion rates are even lower for those starting part-time, or at less than four-year schools (and planning to transfer). Which social indicators—such as student engagement, enrollment status, and family status—are tied to post-secondary completion? In a recent study funded by Lumina Foundation, we identified multiple indicators for increasing the odds of completion, and found that there are four social indicators that are related to the odds of postsecondary completion across students attending both two-year and four-year colleges: part-time status; having a child; number of transfers; and speaking with faculty about academic matters outside of class. Indicators differ by four–year, two-year, or less than two year institutions, and whether the student is traditional or non-traditional, and by race and ethnicity. Child Trends recommends indicators and data sources for monitoring these indicators that can be used for the improvement of postsecondary institutions and student postsecondary completion rates nationally.