Teachers College, Columbia University

Does Age of Entrance Affect Community College Completion Probabilities? Evidence From a Discrete-Time Hazard Model

By Juan Carlos Calcagno, Peter M. Crosta, Thomas Bailey & Davis Jenkins

Research has consistently shown that older students—those who enter college for the first time at age 25 or older—are less likely to complete a degree or certificate. The authors estimate a single-risk discrete-time hazard model using transcript data on a cohort of first-time community college students in Florida to compare the educational outcomes of older and traditional-age students.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the authors’ results suggest that after controlling for cognitive mathematics ability, older students enrolled in Florida community colleges have a higher conditional probability of completing a degree or certificate in the observed event period.

This article was published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, vol. 29. It is based on an earlier paper presented at the Association of Institutional Research (AIR) 2006 Forum.