Part-Time College Students Need More Support to Graduate

Attending college full-time, rather than part-time, makes a huge difference in student progress through higher education, including whether or not students graduate. This is especially true at community colleges.

Four-year colleges enroll more “traditional” students than community colleges. One important characteristic of traditional students is they are more likely to attend full-time. They are also more likely to be recent high school graduates, financially dependent on parent(s), likely better prepared for college than older students, and less likely to work full-time.

Community colleges, on the other hand, enroll many more “nontraditional” students who are more likely to attend college part-time. They also trend older, are more likely to be independent, have dependents of their own, and more likely to have taken some time off between high school and college, and work full-time.

A recent national report on yearly success and progress rates shows that attendance intensity makes a big difference. This fact, together with the lack of sufficient resources for student support, makes improving student outcomes especially challenging for community colleges.

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