Descriptive summary of 2003-04 beginning postsecondary students: Three years later (NCES 2008-174)
Using data from the 2004/06 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/06), this report provides a description of the characteristics and enrollment patterns of a nationally representative sample of students who began postsecondary education for the first time during the 2003-04 academic year. The report describes the background, academic preparation, and experience of these beginning students over 3 academic years, from July 2003 to June 2006, and provides information about their rates of persistence, program completion, transfer, and attrition. The focus is on differences among students beginning at either 4-year, 2-year, or less-than-2-year institutions. Some highlights: Most of the first-time students who began at 4-year institutions in 2003-04 were age 19 or younger (85 percent) compared to 54 percent of students who began at 2-year institutions and 32 percent who began at less-than-2-year institutions. Among those under age 24 who began at a 4-year institution, nearly all (94 percent) had taken algebra II or higher mathematics courses in high school, and about one-fourth had taken calculus. Of students who began at a 4-year institution, about one-half had a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher, and about one-fourth had earned credit for courses taken at a college while still in high school. Eighteen percent of the students who began at a 4-year institution in 2003-04 transferred from the institution where they had started.