Associate degree is first step for many

Younger associate degree graduates are more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years than older graduates, according to a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

The Snapshot Report on Degree Pathways looked at degree attainment among students who earned their first postsecondary credentials in 2008-09. It found that two in five students (41 percent) who earned an associate degree had earned a bachelor’s degree within six years.

Among students who were 20 years old or younger when they earned an associate degree, 60.9 percent had earned a bachelor’s within six years. That percentage dropped to 43.3 percent among those age 21 to 24 and to 31.4 percent among those over 24.

The research center reports men with associate degrees were slightly more likely to earn a bachelor’s within six years than women. The rates were 42.1 percent for men and 40.8 percent for women.

In general, it took people in the study an average of 2.8 years to earn a bachelor’s after completing an associate degree.

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