According a study that tracked 11,000 Phi Theta Kappa members starting in the 2008-09 academic years, the overall six-year completion rate of members was 85 percent. Another seven percent were still enrolled and working toward a degree, making the overall completion rate 92 percent. That compares to the six-year completion rate for all community college students which was 40 percent.
It's reported in Community College Week. The article also discusses recent changes in leadership in Phi Theta Kappa, as well as a new push to get more eligible students to join.
It's not hard to interpret what is going on with their success rates. Students in the honor society must have a GPA of 3.5 and have earned at least 12 credits. Nearly 80 percent of Phi Theta Kappans attend college full-time. On the other hand, they often are in "high risk" categories, such as being eligible for Pell grants (meaning with low incomes) and having taken at least one developmental class. Ethnic minorities are well represented, if somewhat below rates of the overall population. Please have a look at the chart at the conclusion of the article for a nice snapshot.
Another factor worth considering is the obvious amount of student engagement in Phi Theta Kappa. If we can figure out how to similarly get all students hooked into the culture of their schools—interacting with faculty, staff, mentors, and peers—it could make a big difference.
The toughest challenge with student success at community colleges may be with part-timers. The odds are against them, but they likely have no other choice, absent a major change in their life situation.