Benchmarking Project: Round 4

For the past three years, NCAN has collected data from members to develop an NCAN baseline and subsequent benchmark of enrollment and 4-, 5- and 6-year completion rates. This is allowing us to:

  • observe trends for students who have received NCAN members' services,
  • publish an annual report series examining these enrollment and completion benchmarks disaggregated by student-level characteristics,
  • investigate other research questions of interest to NCAN members, and
  • identify and study the NCAN member programs that are surpassing the NCAN benchmark enrollment and completion rates.

The NCAN benchmarks are meant to be another standard against which member programs can compare their student outcomes. Our benchmarks complement the enrollment and completion benchmarks already reported by the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) in their Signature Report Series. The Benchmarking Project is funded by the Kresge Foundation.

The results from the first three years of Benchmarking are interesting and promising. For example,

Enrollment Benchmarks:

  • Of students submitted by NCAN members for this project, 71% of 2007 high school graduates and 74% 2008 high school graduates immediately enrolled at a postsecondary institution. These enrollment rates are comparable to those of students from higher-income urban and rural high schools.[1],[2]

Completion Benchmarks:

  • Of students submitted by NCAN members for benchmarking, 54.8% of students who graduated from high school in 2007 and 56.8% of those who graduated in 2008 completed a postsecondary degree within six-years. This is comparable to the six-year completion benchmarks of 59.8% and 59.3%, respectively, which have been established by the NSC.[3],[4]

This narrowing gap shows the importance of the work of NCAN and its members. Together, we are increasing postsecondary attainment for students. In Benchmarking Round 4, we will continue to get a fuller picture of these trends. The Benchmarking Project has had an encouraging start, and NCAN again invites all members to join the important mission of this project to continue its success.

Round 4 of the Benchmarking Project is currently underway! For more information, contact Bill DeBaun.


[1] As reported in the NSC’s Postsecondary Enrollment Benchmarks as reported in their High School Benchmarks – 2013

[2] As reported in the NSC’s Postsecondary Enrollment Benchmarks as reported in their High School Benchmarks – 2014

[5] NCAN has an agreement in place with the National Student Clearinghouse to offer its members discounted fees to run data through StudentTracker. Please contact Amina Anderson Pringle, Member Services Manager for more information on the very affordable arrangement