Persistence and Attainment Among Postsecondary Subbaccalaureate Students

This brief examines the persistence and attainment of students who enrolled in postsecondary education for the first time in 2003–04, focusing on subbaccalaureate students (those seeking a certificate or associate’s degree) and, among subbaccalaureate students, those who pursue occupational education (sometimes referred to as career and technical education).

Key Findings

  • Subbaccalaureate students have a lower rate of persistence and attainment than baccalaureate students.
  • Students seeking a subbaccalaureate credential in an occupational field of study have a persistence and attainment rate that is not measurably different from that of subbaccalaureate students in other fields of study.

Attainment is defined as having earned a postsecondary credential as of 2009, whether or not it is the same credential the student initially sought. Persistence is defined as being enrolled in postsecondary education in 2009, without having earned a credential.