Teachers College, Columbia University

Lingerers in the Community College

By Florence Xiaotao Ran & Sung-Woo Cho
Lingerers in the Community College

Lingerers are a highly persistent group of students who have accumulated a substantial number of college credits and are still enrolled in the fifth year. This publication uses data on students at nine community colleges to examine the characteristics and outcomes of lingerers in comparison with degree completers.

While demographic characteristics of lingerers were similar to those of completers, analysis reveals that lingerers were more likely to attend college part-time and to be referred to and enroll in remedial courses. Lingerers took courses leading to a degree, but they failed a greater proportion of their college-level courses than degree completers.

Colleges may want to undertake similar analyses of their own student lingerers. Doing so may illustrate the need to offer more effective supports to students who have demonstrated a strong effort to succeed but have not yet earned a college credential.

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