Education in Omaha & Council Bluffs:

Post-Secondary Attendance & Completion

post-Secondary 1

Regardless of race or socioeconomic status, less than half of all students who start college will graduate within 6 years.

Let's Break It Down

Among lower income students, Black students are more likely to enroll, but are less likely to complete college.

Of the students who graduated high school in 2009, White students had the highest college enrollment rate. When looking at the data by income level, lower income Black students (those who receive a free or reduced lunch, FRL) have a higher enrollment rate than White or Hispanic lower income students. Regardless of race or socioeconomic status, fewer than half of all students who start college in our community will graduate within six years. Data in this area was not available for Pottawattamie County schools.

Why Does It Matter?

Higher education, whether it be college or other vocational training, directly corresponds to greater earning potential.

College completion rates can have a significant effect on a person’s future salary and earnings. For some professions, educational attainment levels correspond directly with a greater earning potential. Locally, people with a bachelor’s degree earn $18,000 more annually than those without a college degree.

The time it takes to finish a secondary education program also impacts whether students complete the program. Research shows that the more time students spend working on their degree, the less likely they are to graduate. Six years—or graduating within 150% time following high school—is a common benchmark used to measure college completion. Students who take longer than six years to earn a degree often drop out.

While there are many reasons why students may not compete their degree, research points to remedial coursework as a barrier. Students who enter college without high enough grades or low testing scores may be required to take remedial coursework. One study estimated that Bachelor’s level students who had to take a remedial course were 74% more likely to drop out. Further complicating matters, remedial coursework incurs tuition charges, but does not come with any earned college credit. This increases the total cost of higher education and the time it takes to earn a degree.

How Do We Compare?

More students in our community start and finish college compared to national rates.

Nationally, 70% of students who completed high school in 2009 began post-secondary education of some kind. Locally, the rate was 77%.

Nationally, 31% graduated from a two-year institution and 40% graduated from a four-year institution (for the 2008 cohort). This is on par with 36% of Douglas and Sarpy county students graduating from post-secondary within 6 years (or within 150% of the time).

Data Source: Nebraska Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics

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