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Half of First-Time Undergrads Finish in 6 Years, Study Finds

New numbers are out today on college completion from the U.S. Department of Education. About 49 percent of students who began to pursue a certificate or bachelor's degree in 2003-2004 had completed their work six years later.

The First Look report by the Institute of Education Services tracks the rates at which first-time undergraduates complete degrees, transfer, or drop out.

Highlights of the research:

• Breaking down the numbers among the 2003-04 beginning students: About 9 percent had received a certificate; 9 percent had earned an associate's degree; and 31 percent had completed a bachelor's degree from any institution by June 2009.

• About 15 percent who began their studies in 2003-04 remained enrolled but had not yet completed a program of study.

• Of the group tracked, 36 percent had left their schools without a credential of any kind within the six years of the study.

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