Some College, No Credential Student Outcomes: Annual Progress Report - National Student Clearinghouse


The Some College, No Credential (SCNC) annual report series conducted by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center seeks to understand the educational trajectories of millions of U.S. adults who left postsecondary education without receiving a postsecondary credential and are no longer enrolled. The latest report (June 2024) is the fifth in the series.

The report identifies the levels of opportunity within each state for re-engaging SCNC students in the postsecondary attainment pipeline by tracking SCNC student outcomes annually:

  • Re-Enrollment after stop-out.
  • Completion of First Credential.
  • Perseverance as indicated by continuous enrollment beyond first re-enrollment.

Report Findings (2024, 2021, 2020)

2024 Report (published in June)

  • Today’s SCNC population is 41.9 million students.
  • The report focuses on the population between 18-64 years old -- 36.8 million which represents 18.1% of the total U.S. population.  The SCNC population under 65 years old stood at more than 36.8 million at the end of July 2022, an increase of 2.9% from the previous year.
    • Fall 2023/spring 2024 undergraduate enrollment increases show a significant share of undergraduates disengaged from college before earning a degree or other credential. They joined tens of millions of other SCNC adult Americans.
    • The SCNC population has been consistently rising over time. In 2019, it comprised 36 million adults. Although some SCNC students have re-enrolled in college or earned a credential since then, the majority remain out of college with no degree or other postsecondary credential.
    • Pandemic-related enrollment declines at community colleges led to fewer Recent Stopouts between January 2021 and July 2022 compared with the same period a year prior.
    • Declines in Recent Stopouts did little to impact the SCNC population, which increased in nearly all states.
    • The SCNC population continues to be less White and more male than the overall undergraduate population.
    • Recent Stopouts continue to be younger and more female than the overall SCNC population.
    • SCNC student re-enrollment increased in the 2022-23 academic year (+9.1%).
    • Primarily online institutions (POIs) are an increasingly popular destination sector for students who switch schools at re-enrollment, although students re-enrolling at POIs have the lowest credential earning rate of all sectors after two years.
    • Although men and Hispanic, Black, and Native American students are disproportionately represented among the overall SCNC population, women and White and Asian re-enrollees are more likely to complete a credential in the first year or persevere into a second year of enrollment.
    • Potential completer re-enrollees earn credentials at nearly twice the rate of their SCNC peers and earn more associate and bachelor’s degrees within two years.

2021 Report (reported in July 2023)

  • The SCNC population reached 40.4 million, up 1.4 million from 39.0 million in the previous year.
    • A lack of re-enrollment and 2.3 million new SCNC students (recent stop-outs) drove this large growth.
    • All 50 states and D.C. experienced growth.
    • All SCNC outcome indicators (re-enrollment, completion, and perseverance) declined from the previous year.
    • During the academic year 2021/22, over 864,000 SCNC students re-enrolled, 53,300 students completed their first-ever undergraduate credential the same year they re-enrolled, and 508,700 re-enrollees from the previous year persevered into their second year.
    • These represent one-year declines of nearly 80,000 re-enrollees, 7,000 completers, and 23,100 perseverers

2020 Report (reported in 2021)

  • The SCNC population reached 39 million, up 3.1 million from the 36 million SCNC population previously reported.
  • A combination of net growth (1.9 million) and methodological enhancements contributed to the 3.1 million increase.
    • 48 states and D.C. had a net growth.
    • Four states (California, Texas, New York, Illinois) accounted for more than a third of the nation’s SCNC students. Alaska showed the largest number of SCNC students per 1,000 currently enrolled undergraduates among all states.
    • Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, during the academic year 2020/21, 944,200 SCNC students re-enrolled and 60,400 students earned their first-ever postsecondary credential. An additional 531,700 students were still enrolled after re-enrolling the previous year. (These outcomes reference SCNC students aged 18 to 64.)
    • About 62% of the 944,200 students changed institutions upon re-enrolling, and those who did change institutions also commonly crossed institution sectors (67%).
    • Re-enrolling in a community college after last attending a community college was the most common pathway for SCNC re-enrollees (363,400 students, 38.5%).
    • 70% of the 60,400 completers obtained their credential from a public institution (two- or four-year). Private nonprofit four-year institutions had the highest perseverance rates (64.8%), while community colleges had the lowest (50.2%).
    • Women outnumbered men in re-enrollment, credential earning, and perseverance. The share of re-enrollees among minority women was substantially higher than men (63.5% versus 34.6%).
    • Associate degrees were the most common credential earned by Latinx SCNC students (42.5%), whereas Black students were most likely to have completed a certificate (42.7%). Asian and White students persevered at a higher rate than other groups.


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Some College, No Credential - National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (

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