Wednesday, October 05, 2011

College Graduation Rates Are Stagnant Even as Enrollment Rises, a Study Finds

A powerful and sobering new study about how few students who enter college earn a degree, esp. those who start at two-year colleges and poor, older, African American and Latino students.  The full report is posted here:, and here's an excerpt from a NYT article about it (below):

A report to be released on Tuesday by a group seeking to raise college graduation rates shows that despite decades of steadily climbing enrollment rates, the percentage of students making it to the finish line is barely budging.

The group, Complete College America, is a nonprofit founded two years ago with financing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation and others. Its report, which had the cooperation of 33 governors, showed how many of the students in states completed their degrees, broken down into different categories , including whether enrollment is full- or part-time, or at a two- or four-year institution.

The numbers are stark: In Texas, for example, of every 100 students who enrolled in a public college, 79 started at a community college, and only 2 of them earned a two-year degree on time; even after four years, only 7 of them graduated. Of the 21 of those 100 who enrolled at a four-year college, 5 graduated on time; after eight years, only 13 had earned a degree.

Similarly, in Utah, for 100 students who enrolled in a public college, 71 chose a community college, 45 enrolling full time and 26 part time; after four years, only 14 of the full-time students and one of the part-time students graduated. Of the 29 who started at a four-year college, only 13 got their degree within eight years.

Because of gaps in federal statistics, students who enroll part time, or transfer have been nearly invisible, said Stan Jones, the president of Complete College America.

…Among older students, as well as those who are awarded Pell grants, and black and Hispanic students, the report said, fewer than one in five of those attending college part time will earn a degree in six years.

"Time is the enemy of college completion," the report said. "The longer it takes, the more life gets in the way of success." 


College Graduation Rates Are Stagnant Even as Enrollment Rises, a Study Finds

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Statistics on graduation rates for part-time or transfer students are largely invisible, a study by Complete College America says.


Published: September 27, 2011

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