May 26, 2022

New Data: National Six-Year and Eight-Year College Completion Rates Reach New Highs, 59.7% and 61.8%, Respectively

From the National Student Clearinghouse:

The overall national six-year completion rate reached 59.7 percent for the fall 2013 entering cohort, and the eight-year completion rate increased to 61.8 percent for the 2011 entering cohort, according to the Completing College 2019 National Report, a newly released report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. These rates are new highs since the Research Center started tracking these data in 2012.

The completion rates of the more than 2.3 million students who entered postsecondary education for the first time in the fall of 2013 increased across all types of starting institutions. Public four-year; public two-year; and private, nonprofit four-year starters, also have reached their highest levels–67%, 41%, and 77%, respectively. The completions rate of for-profit, four-year starters jumped 5.1 percentage points to 42.4%, on a 24% smaller cohort size, and surpassed the public, two-year institution completion rate for the first time since the 2007 cohort.


Other Report Highlights include:

  • The national college completion rate continues to rise, but more slowly in recent years.
  • First-time entering college students are becoming increasingly traditional in demographics and education pathways.
  • An additional five percent of the 2011 entering student cohort completed during their seventh and eighth years.
  • More progress made among older students (age 20 and over) generally, and Hispanics in particular.
  • For the first time, the report includes analysis of majors at graduation, showing racial/ethnic and gender disparities.

Following this national report, state-by-state completion rates for the 2013 cohort will be available in the spring of 2020.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.