Noncredit Research Collaborative

Noncredit Education Enrollment and Outcomes: Exploring the “Black Box” of Noncredit Community College Education


Representing approximately two in five community college students, noncredit education is an important but understudied segment of the higher education population. In an effort to help open the “black box” of noncredit education in community colleges, the present study uses an established noncredit course typology (occupational training, sponsored occupational training, personal interest, and precollege remediation) to better understand the predictors of noncredit enrollment and outcomes in Iowa. Using a sample of more than 181,000 records, we employed a series of regression analyses to discuss variables associated with enrollment in the noncredit course types, the number of completions, and the number of contact hours. Nuanced findings and implications were associated with race/ethnicity, gender, institutional mission as captured through Carnegie Classifications, and career fields based on the 16 career clusters.