July 8, 2021
First-year persistence rates, which measure whether incoming students continue into their second year, dropped to 73.9% in the fall of 2020, their lowest level since 2012, according to a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
The declines were driven by attrition at community colleges, where first-year persistence rates sank 3.5 percentage points to 58.5%. Private and public four-year colleges also saw their rates fall, though the losses weren’t as severe.
The share of first-year students transferring to another institution by their second fall declined 1.5 percentage points from the decade average to 7.7%, signaling constrained student mobility, the report notes.