tc columbia

Noncredit Education in Community College: Students, Course Enrollments, and Academic Outcomes

By: Di Xu & Xiaotao Ran


The past two decades have seen a noticeable increase in noncredit instructional offerings in postsecondary education. While noncredit programs have been advocated as a promising way to address educational equity, knowledge about the noncredit sector, such as the types of students enrolled in noncredit courses and their academic outcomes, is sparse.

Drawing upon a rich dataset that includes transcript and demographic information on both for-credit and noncredit students in nine community colleges in one state, this study explores the demographic and academic profiles of students enrolled in various fields of noncredit education, their academic outcomes and progress, and potential factors that influence noncredit course completion and transition to the for-credit sector.