Report tracks post-bachelor’s degree progress

A new study describes the enrollment and employment experiences of college graduates.

A new report reveals that 50 percent of students who began their careers in a four-year institution obtained their bachelor’s degrees in four years or less, compared to 25 percent of students who obtained a bachelor’s degree in four year or less when initially enrolling in a community college at the beginning of their post-secondary education.

The July 20 study from the National Center on Education Statistics describes the enrollment and employment experiences of a national sample of college graduates who completed a bachelor’s degree in the 2007-2008 academic year. Researchers concentrated on 2008-2009 period–the year after students graduated.

Eighteen percent of students who delayed their entry into post-secondary education, defined in the study as waiting 12 months or more after high school graduation before initial post-secondary enrollment, completed a bachelor’s degree in four years, compared to 47.6 percent of those who did not delay their entry.

The Baccalaureate and Beyond series of data collections allows researchers to address questions regarding bachelor’s degree recipients’ undergraduate experiences, including participation in various financial aid programs, undergraduate debt, and repayment of that debt; entrance into and progress through post-baccalaureate education, including time to the bachelor’s degree; and employment, particularly as elementary/secondary teachers.

The report sampled 137,800 undergraduate students, and of those students, 17,160 qualified for the study. Those students enrolled in U.S. institutions that were eligible to participate in the Title IV federal student aid programs, completed requirements for a bachelor’s degree between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008, and were awarded their baccalaureate degree by the institution from which they were sampled no later than June 30, 2009.