How many students from your high school graduated college?

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In 2008, about 70 percent of Connecticut high school graduates went to college.

Six years later, only two in three of those students had a college degree.

The numbers, of course, differ for every school — and you can see how students from your school fared in the graphic above. But, no matter, the question remains:

Which students did not graduate?

Data from the National Student Clearinghouse, via the State Department of Education, helps us answer this questions.

Did they go to a two-year college?

If they did, their chances of earning a degree were significantly lower than for those who went to a four-year school.

Only one in three students from Connecticut high schools who started at a two-year college earned a diploma within six years. That is worse than the nationwide clip of 40 percent.

If we just look at students who attend two-year schools full time, the graduation number jumps to 43 percent — but that’s still significantly worse than the nationwide rate of 58 percent.

Just 18 percent of part-time students who attend two-year schools finish in six years.

But Connecticut students who went to a four-year school and attended full-time were more likely to graduate than the nationwide average.

Completion rates: Connecticut vs. nationwide, by type of student
Students who attend four-year schools fare better in Connecticut, but those who attend two-year schools do not.
Category Connecticut Nationwide Connecticut vs. Nation
Students Who Started at Four-Year Public Institutions 72% 63% 8%
Full-Time Students Who Started at Four-Year Public Institutions 87% 82% 4%
Part-Time Students Who Started at Four-Year Public Institutions 33% 20% 13%
Started at Four-Year Public Institutions, Went to Two-Year 50% 49% -1%
Students Who Started at Two-Year Public Institutions 32% 40% -8%
Exclusively Full-Time Students Who Started at Two-Year Public Institutions 43% 58% -15%
Exclusively Part-Time Students Who Started at Two-Year Public Institutions 18%
Started at Two-Year Public Institutions, Went to Four-Year 32% 36% -5%
Did they drop out in year one?

If they did, they were among the 11 percent of students from Connecticut’s class of 2008 who dropped out in year one.

After the next year, a total of 19 percent had left school.

And by 2013, one in three students had left college.

While there’s a steady rate of students dropping out in the six years after high school, the key appears to be the first two years, when 20 percent of students drop out. After that, the dropout rate slows down.

When students drop out of college
Year No longer enrolled, cumulative
2009 11%
2010 19%
2011 24%
2012 29%
2013 32%
Were they male?

Male students finished school at a lower rate than female students.

Nationwide, males finished four-year schools about 60 percent of the time, versus 67 percent for females. In Connecticut, that number increases to 67 percent for males and 76 percent for females.

At two-year schools, Connecticut students fared worse than the nationwide average, but the margins between males and females stayed about the same.

Gender of student: Male vs. Female
Females were more likely to finish college.
Category Connecticut Nationwide Connecticut vs. Nation
Women Who Started at Four-Year Public Institutions 76% 67% 8%
Men Who Started at Four-Year Public Institutions 67% 60% 8%
Women Who Started at Two-Year Public Institutions 36% 43% -8%
Men Who Started at Two-Year Public Institutions 29% 37% -8%
Did they start late?

If they started late, their chances of graduating were much lower, as shown in the chart below:

Age at start: Connecticut vs. nationwide
Students who start later were less likely to finish college.
Category Connecticut Nationwide Connecticut vs. Nation
Students Age 20 or Younger at First Entry Who Started at Two-Year Public Institutions 32% 42% -10%
Students Over Age 20 Through Age 24 at First Entry Who Started at Two-Year Public Institutions 24% 29% -5%
Students Over Age 24 at First Entry Who Started at Two-Year Public Institutions 35% 37% -3%

And if they didn’t start in the first two years after high school, it’s likely they didn’t start college at all.

About 70 percent of the 2008 cohort started college right after high school. The next year, about 4.1 percent started college for the first time.

By 2010, only 1.9 percent started for the first time. But, from the data above, we know students between ages 20 and 24 are less likely to finish college.

When students start college
Some students start later — but it’s rare.
Year Pct. Of Cohort Starting College
2008 70.1%
2009 4.1%
2010 1.9%
2011 1.1%
2012 0.9%
2013 0.8%
Did they return to college?

If they dropped out, there’s a decent chance they went back to school.

About a third of students left college in the six years after high school — but about a third of those dropouts returned at some point.

Each year, about 10 percent of dropouts came back. Of the nearly 3,000 students who dropped out in 2009, about 20 percent returned in 2010. In later years, that rates drops to just above 10 percent.

Where were they from?

Where they graduated from high school matters greatly. In fact, if they came from a high-need, low-income district, their chances of finishing college were cut by more than half.

There are so many points to make from this breakdown of the data that we’ll cover it in a bigger post tomorrow.

What do you think?