Has anyone else grappled with this aspect of student attrition?
Student X is enrolled in some kind of award-granting program (certificate, diploma, associate's) at his local community college. Soon after Student X completes the core courses, MegaCorp, Inc., offers him an irresistible salary and lures him away. Student X (un)officially withdraws, and never completes the course of study.


The concern among administrators is that, although the courses Student X completed (theoretically) made him more marketable, the community college's graduation rate takes a hit because Student X didn't receive an award acknowledging completion of the course of study.

This anecdote raises two questions:
1. What percentage of students participate in this phenomenon?
2. What is the "academic life expectancy" of these students? In other words, how long are they enrolled before they secure gainful employment and drop out?

My suggestion:
Data analysis from a properly designed survey would be informative. Descriptive statistics would answer the first question, and a survival analysis would answer the second question.