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New Report: “4-year” Degrees Now a Myth in American Higher Education

December 3, 2014 Comments off

New Report: “4-year” Degrees Now a Myth in American Higher Education
Source: Complete College America

In their latest report, Four-Year Myth, Complete College America and its Alliance of States reveal that the vast majority of full-time American college students do not graduate on time, costing them and their families tens of thousands of dollars in extra college-related expenses, as well as lost wages from delaying entry into the workforce. The report also points to spikes in debt in years 5 and 6 and shows that the overwhelming majority of public four-year colleges graduate less than half of their students on time.

  • At public 2-year institutions, 5% of full-time students pursuing associate degrees graduate on time. An extra year costs $15,933 in tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation and other expenses. In addition, students give up approximately $35,000 in lost wages by graduating late. The total cost: $50,933.
  • At public 4-year institutions, 19% (non-flagship) and 36% (flagship/very high research) of full-time students graduate on time. An extra year costs $22,826 in tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation and other expenses. In addition, students give up $45,327 in lost wages by graduating late. The total cost: $68,153.
  • Only 50 out of the more than 580 public four-year institutions in America report on-time graduation rates at or above 50% for their first-time, full-time students.
  • Two extra years on campus increase debt by nearly 70% among students who borrow, according to data from Temple University and the University of Texas – Austin.

Time Is the Enemy

October 3, 2011 Comments off

Time Is the Enemy
Source: Complete College America
From Summary (PDF):

Inside these pages you will get an unprecedented look behind the ivy-covered walls of America’s public colleges and universities and into how well they are educating all — we repeat, all — of today’s college students.

The all part is what’s new.

Surprisingly, until this report, no one has bothered to measure and report the success or failure of all U.S. college students. We’ve been tracking only students who are first-time and are going full-time. That’s all the federal government requires of colleges and universities, and until now few exceeded this minimal standard.

But 4 of every 10 public college students are able to attend only part-time. Which means leaders have been making policy decisions about higher education absent critical information about 40 percent of the students, as if their success or failure was less important than that of “traditional” full-time students. How can this be? Worse, there’s more. Start full-time and then transfer to a different institution? You haven’t been counted. Receive some of the billions of dollars in federal grants given out each year to attend college? Few have followed up to check if you dropped out or graduated. Older students, students trapped in remediation, students pursuing valuable career certificates … all have been virtually invisible to policymakers, elected officials, and taxpayers … until now.

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