National Student Clearinghouse Releases Higher Education One-Year Mobility Data for All 50 States and DC

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Nearly 10 percent of the nation’s college students attend multiple institutions in a single year

“While traditional student transfers occur between academic years, this report shows that students frequently move among institutions even within a single year,” stated Dr. Doug Shapiro, Executive Research Director of the Research Center.

The National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center™ today released the Postsecondary Student One-Year Mobility Snapshot Report for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report shows that nationally, 9.4 percent of all college students, across all levels of study, enrolled in more than one institution within the 2014-15 academic year. The one-year mobility rate underscores the need for institutions to facilitate smooth transitions for college students, both within and across state lines. It also provides a current indicator of the likely double-counting of institution-based annual enrollment reporting.

“While traditional student transfers occur between academic years, this report shows that students frequently move among institutions even within a single year,” stated Dr. Doug Shapiro, Executive Research Director of the Research Center. “In order for states and institutions to better support today’s non-traditional students, they need a better understanding of the types of transitions that students navigate, not just over the long term, but every single year.”

Other key one-year mobility findings include:

In 2014-15, nearly 21 percent of all mobile students attended institutions in more than one state.

In each year, nearly 75 percent of all mobile students had at least one enrollment at a two-year public institution.

Top five states with the highest percentage of students attending multiple institutions in a single academic year are:

North Dakota (17.1 percent)
Kansas (15.9 percent)
Vermont (15.3 percent)
Texas (15.1 percent)
Iowa (14.2 percent)

Top five states with the highest percentage of students crossing state lines while attending multiple institutions in a single academic year are:

Vermont (11.4 percent)
North Dakota (10.6 percent)
District of Columbia (9.0 percent)
Delaware (8.0 percent)
West Virginia (7.7 percent)
New Hampshire (7.7 percent)

The postsecondary one-year mobility rate is the percentage of students, across all levels of study, who enrolled in more than one institution within a single academic year, including summer, online, and concurrent enrollments. This view of student mobility differs from the longitudinal view taken in the Research Center’s Signature Report 9 on Transfer and Mobility, published last July, which found that 37 percent of all students enroll in more than one institution during their undergraduate careers. However, much of that mobility occurs from one year to the next.

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, visit https://nscresearchcenter.org/.

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Todd Sedmak
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