It isn’t a horror story … or is it??

Imagine there is a place in this country where people enter but they never come out. Or at least very few come out. Excellent script for a horror movie, perhaps, but it is unfortunately the scenario on college in this country.

“Despite decades of steadily climbing enrollment rates, the percentage of students making it to the finish line is barely budging,” reports the New York Times in a recent article.

Allow me to quote the numbers directly… “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.”

Yikes.

Per the article, students who don’t do full time enrollment or who transfer schools have been difficult to track, while admissions information is fairly easy and colleges are glad to share that part of their story with the world. And research indicates that 4 out of 10 students who attend college are doing so on a part time basis. No more than a quarter of these students ever graduate.

The ‘equation’ of education is that a student assumes debt to get the degree that will get them an advantage when looking for a job that will pay better (because of said degree) making it easy to pay back loans and move on to the business of making ‘real’ money.

What happens to that equation when they don’t finish? Especially if the time spent in college was financed by loans that come due as soon as you walk away from a program?

Where’s the error? Are not all students college material? Don’t let the premise of  No Child Left Behind hear you say that! Are all students college material but life gets in the way? Is there something we can do to keep life from getting into the way so that we – as a country – can enjoy a better educated populace, ready to solve the worlds problems in a single leap?

I don’t have the answers, but the questions keep on coming. Your thoughts??

 

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