Annual Persistence and Retention Report, Featuring Race and Ethnicity Data for the First Time, Reveals Wide Gaps Among Races and Ethnicities

Overall Persistence Rate Declined Slightly for Fall 2015 Entering
College Students

HERNDON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--#highered--The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released today its
annual Persistence
and Retention Snapshot Report
. The report, which includes race and
ethnicity data for the first time, details wide gaps in first-year
persistence and retention rates.

Asian students and white students who entered college in fall 2015
persisted into the second fall term of college at the highest rates
(84.2 percent and 79.2 percent, respectively), while Hispanic students
and black students continued college at lower rates (72.5 percent and
66.9 percent, respectively). A gap of 17.3 percentage points separates
the groups persisting at the highest and lowest rates.

“Adding race and ethnicity to this year’s report provides an important
new lens for understanding educational pathways for postsecondary
students. Combined with enrollment intensity, age and starting
institution type, practitioners now have new ways to understand the
retention and persistence outcomes that they observe for students on
their own campus,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Research Director of the
National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

The persistence rate is the percentage of students who return to college
at any institution for their second fall term, while the retention rate
is the percentage of students who return to the same institution. By
taking both metrics into account, the report sheds light on how
educational pathways differ by race and ethnicity.

For example, among students who entered college in two-year public
institutions, Hispanic students were retained at their starting
institution at a higher rate than that of white students (55.1 percent
compared to 50.2 percent). However, 17.6 percent of white students at
two-year public institutions persisted into their second fall term at a
different institution, often as a result of transfer to a four-year
institution, compared to only 9.8 percent of Hispanic students. As a
result, white students in this sector persisted in college at a higher
rate than Hispanic students, in spite of the higher retention rate of
Hispanic students.

Institutions provided race and ethnicity data to the Clearinghouse for
79 percent of the 3.7 million students reported in the fall 2015
entering cohort.

In addition, the report shows that of all students who started college
full-time in fall 2015 in any public, private or for-profit institution
only 61 percent returned to the same institution in fall 2016.
Meanwhile, 12.3 percent transferred to another U.S. institution, for a
total student persistence rate of 73.4 percent. The overall persistence
rate for the fall 2015 entering cohort represented a slight drop from
that of the previous cohort (-0.2 percentage points), but was still up
1.9 percentage points from the fall 2009 cohort.

About the National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center™

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center is the research arm
of the National
Student Clearinghouse
. The Research Center collaborates with higher
education institutions, states, school districts, high schools, and
educational organizations as part of a national effort to better inform
education leaders and policymakers. Through accurate longitudinal data
outcomes reporting, the Research Center enables better educational
policy decisions leading to improved student outcomes. To learn more,


National Student Clearinghouse Research Center
Todd Sedmak,