Going to College and Finishing College

Sarah E. Turner

in College Choices

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780226355351
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226355375 | DOI:
Going to College and Finishing College

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This chapter documents the changing relationship between college enrollment and college completion, examines the factors responsible for these shifts, and considers their implications. In doing so, the chapter sets a new direction for higher education research by documenting the gap between enrollment rates and completions and identifying the universe of possible explanations. The first section discusses the measurement of college enrollment and college completion, focusing on the intersection of results from a range of different data sources. The second section sets out a basic framework for analysis, starting with the human capital investment model, and outlines explanations for why individuals who begin college do not complete it or complete it in an extended period of time. The chapter provides empirical evidence distinguishing the explanatory role of these various factors. The concluding section summarizes the challenges for future research and suggests some implications for policy and data collection.

Keywords: college enrollment; college completion; higher education; enrollment rates; human capital; investment model

Chapter.  18595 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Higher and Further Education

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