Report: “New College Graduates Report, 2013-14"
Organization: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center
Summary: For a growing share of college graduates, the degrees they’re taking home aren’t their first higher-education credentials. The percentage of college graduates stacking credentials by adding, say, a bachelor’s degree to an associate degree, or an associate degree to a certificate, grew from 25 percent to 29 percent between 2010-11 and 2013-14, says a report released on Wednesday.
Colleges are counting on such repeat customers to fill their seats at a time when the number of new, first-time college graduates is slipping. The numbers of new graduates dropped 2.1 percent in 2012-13 and 1.3 percent in 2013-14. That’s after two years of growing by more than 4 percent per year.
Over all, Title IV, degree-granting institutions in 2013-14 awarded nearly two million associate and bachelor’s degrees to students with no previous postsecondary credentials. That’s an increase of less than 1 percent from 2010-11.
The trends varied by gender and age group. Over the four-year period, the number of two- and four-year degrees awarded to men increased by 2.2 percent but to women fell by 0.4 percent. The number of new graduates rose for students under age 25, but was down for everyone else.
Bottom Line: As educational pathways become longer and more complex, it’s not enough to count the number of degrees awarded, says Doug Shapiro, executive research director at the research center. “Knowing how many actual new college graduates we are producing is critical to national efforts to increase the number of adults with a postsecondary credential,” he says.