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

Tamar Lewin, New York Times, September 27, 2011

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. {snip}

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.

{snip}

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.

{snip}

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  • Seek

    More fallout from egaliatarian madness. The very term, “higher education,” connotes an aspiration to handle the noblest heights of learning and an ability to live at such heights. It is a privilege, not a right, to be permitted enrollment in such institutions. Nietzsche recognized as much in “Twilight of the Idols.”

    That such tiny percentages of college students graduate on time, if at all — the numbers surprised even me — underscores the need for more selectively. But administrations, pressured by affirmative action requirements and financial need, won’t make the adjustment. Count on more taxpayer dollars being wasted.

  • alsatian

    The dismal fact is that altogether too many kids, who are in no way college material by the standards of forty years ago, are going to college. College curricula, accordingly, have been dumbed down to accommodate the more modest intellectual levels of today’s students.

    This was obvious with my own kids, all of whom went to reputable if not prestigious colleges. They scarcely exerted themselves at all and got high grades.

    Too many of these now unemployed kids also selected such ridiculous majors as sociology, African studies, Native American history, or similar utterly useless and fabricated “disciplines.” That they’re now unemployable above the level of fast food worker or pizza delivery driver is hardly surprising. They would have been far better served by going to a trade school and acquiring some actual skills.

    So-called “higher education” in America is perhaps the largest and most pervasive scam ever devised by a grossly overpaid and underworked higher educational establishment in all history. Like all scams it eventually will unravel, leaving millions of these effete cabernet-swilling ninnies doing yardwork and washing dishes along with their erstwhile students.

  • No More Free Rides

    I paid for every penny in college: every book, every parking permit, every course–undergrad and graduate school. I hated working nights in a noisy factory, but I did it, and I worked hard in college for a good reason: I WAS PAYING FOR IT. Barry Soetero didn’t pay for college. He didn’t have to work nights to pay for his education.

    It’s pretty easy to throw away other people’s money.

    I know about this well. I have been teaching in higher education for a couple of decades. I have always been an economically poor adjunct. The majority of professors at our institutions of higher learning are adjuncts, that is, non-tenured “part-time” employees. We all make the same lousy pay. We get no benefits. We drive ugly cars, and our “students” get free tuition and get fat loans (on which they will default, and you and I will pick up the bill) that they spend on nice new cars. Of course, most don’t graduate; they’ve invested NOTHING. They have nothing to lose. Just add the “student’s” debt to our multi-trillion-dollar Obamafest.

    When I hear Rick Perry’s heart breaking for the children of illegals, I think that the money that it will take to send just one of those kids to school is more than I will make all year. That is the truth. In the twenty years that I have been teaching, I have never considered marrying. How could I possibly pay to raise children on my pay? But Perry wants to give college tuition to adults who are in this country illegally. I am one of those people who “don’t have a heart,” as Perry called those of us who are opposed to funding the needs of, well, everybody … except native-born, hard-working, tax-paying, car-registering, self-supporting Americans.

    I am so damned tired of living in a country that is plump full of hatred for White Americans who are handicapped to the point of near immobility. Please, God, please, I beg you–Give us a Leader, and restore this Great Nation to those who have worked hard and played by the rules. Give America back to Americans.

  • Madison Grant

    In recent years there have been WAY too many people- whites included- enrolling in college.

    After graduating (or dropping out) many of these poor souls end up getting jobs that don’t require a college degree- but now they have $100,000 in student loan debt.

  • Anonymous

    The idea some shouldn’t go to college is pretty silly. Half an education is better than none. Sure, it goes against every thing they believe in, but Universities need to learn that all students be allowed to live up to their potential.

  • Anonymous

    What cannot continue will not continue.

    The education bubble is the next to burst. Especially law school is one of the biggest scams.

    Just as we have to control for inflation when calculating economic growth and real wages, soo too do we have to control for the inflation of students and the academic starving of the higher ed in America.

    The equivalent of a college degree from the 1960s/early 1970s as it was 50 years ago, is today a masters degree from a top 30 college in a academically rigorous subject. I am doing a scientific degree from one of the top3 colleges in my (Western) European homeland, and I too see too many people enrolling in mediocre schools reading mediocre subjects that will never employ anyone in any but the brighest of times(and even then they wouldn’t need an education like they got to begin with).

    Luckely, we do not have the huge amounts of debt that many in America are racking up. I will probably graduate debt-free and my family never needed to save for my university education.

    But I realize that this too will end, as these kind of welfare socities only function with a highly intelligent population and a homogenous society where there is a natural loyalty in the social contract between people.

    As Europe goes the way of America, even if much slower due to increasingly restrained immigration, so too will our social contract unravel and it will be the end of social solidarity between the peoples of our nations, as we will be increasingly unwilling to pay high taxes that are then showered on violent, unintelligent spawns coming to our shores. Much like what has happened in America.

  • Anonymous

    “Complete College America?”

    You have to be kidding me!

    Why should ANYONE be out there throwing money, resources, or even a ham sandwich at people who cannot, or will not complete college.

    It is by it’s old essence (not today’s), an elite circle.

    It takes dedication beyond the norm.

    Push the unwilling and incapable, and you are only aiding mediocrity- hardly the aim of the original idea of the University.

    Simply inane.

    Gates may be a money-whore, a vampire, and a grand liar, but he is also some kind of mush- brained fool.

    What is it, syphillis?

  • anonymous 13

    There are far too many students who have no business going to college as they lack even the rudimentary skills we expect of a high school graduate (In fact, on average, 20% of all high school graduates are functionally illiterate). We should be far more concerned with the college students who actually graduate with diplomas yet have no college education. There are far too many studies and surveys showing that college graduates lack the analytic and critical reasoning skills necessary to function in today’s workplace.

    On top of that, we are graduating college students who are under-educated, far too many of them very poorly educated.

    In 2006, the American Institute for Research published “The Literacy of America’s College Students” and the findings are terrifying for America’s future. The AIR study of graduating college student literacy was not an assessment of general education skills that students gain from college experiences.. The skills it asked test takers to demonstrate were practical everyday capabilities that all college students should be well versed in them. The media accurately portrayed results from the study, raising questions, and—in the nuances of opinion pieces—providing an ample range of views about their meaning. Most view the results of the study with alarm.

    The study looked at three areas;

    Prose Literacy. Ability to locate easily identifiable information in short, commonplace prose text

    Document Literacy. Ability to locate easily identifiable information and follow written instructions in simple documents (e.g., charts or forms)

    Quantitative Literacy. Ability to locate and use numbers to perform simple quantitative operations (primarily addition) when the mathematical information is very concrete and familiar

    They broke down skills ability for these COLLEGE GRADUATES into 4 levels;

    Below Basic (4th grade or less equivalent)

    Basic (5th to 8th grade)

    Intermediate (9th to 12th grade)

    Proficient (College level)

    More than 75 percent of students at two-year colleges and more than 50 percent of students at four-year colleges did not score at the proficient level of literacy. This means that they lack the skills to perform complex literacy tasks, such as comparing credit card offers with different interest rates or summarizing the arguments of newspaper editorials.

    Students in two- and four-year colleges had the greatest difficulty with quantitative literacy: approximately 30 percent of students in two-year institutions and nearly 20 percent of students in 4-year institutions had only Basic quantitative literacy. Basic skills are those necessary to compare ticket prices or calculate the cost of a sandwich and a salad from a menu.

    Breaking it down by race;

    Below Basic level

    Blacks—5%

    Hispanics—3%

    White—0%

    Basic

    Blacks—25%

    Hispanics—16%

    Whites—7%

    Intermediate

    Black—58%

    Hispanic—51%

    White—54%

    Proficient

    Black—13%

    Hispanic—28%

    White—42%

    So, if anything, there should be far fewer students going to college i.e. those who are really qualified and, more importantly, there should be a far greater hue and cry among all Americans to demand that we raise standards for our children at all school levels so we do not invest billions of taxpayer’s dollars (roughly $250B per year) to pay for a child to go to school for 13 years only to produce illiterate adults who are unemployable, unmarketable and a drain on the country.

  • Say It!

    It’s a money making racket for colleges, universities and textbook companies (who unnecessarily make heavy expensive textbooks). The middle & high schools just pass along the failing students (why retain problems) totally unprepared so they have to take remedial courses at the universities. It all increases the warm body count and the money. Most won’t graduate and will have wasted a few years of their time and money but you can bet the educators will keep pushing the need for a college education for just about everyone, like pushers selling drugs.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Alsatian writes:

    So-called ‘higher education’ in America is perhaps the largest and most pervasive scam ever devised.. Like all scams it eventually will unravel, leaving millions of these effete cabernet-swilling ninnies doing yardwork and washing dishes along with their erstwhile students.

    You have a point considering the following from Business Insider:

    * More than 40% of all jobs are now low income jobs

    * Despite adding 30 million people to the population, there are fewer payroll jobs now than in 2000

    * College tuition has risen 900% since 1978

    * Over 100,000 janitors and 317,000 food servers in the U.S. today have college degrees

    * Despite their education, 17 million college graduates are doing jobs that do not even require a college degree.

    Charles Murray is right: Too many people are going to college.

    ‘students’ get free tuition and get fat loans (on which they will default, and you and I will pick up the bill) that they spend on nice new cars. Of course, most don’t graduate; they’ve invested NOTHING. They have nothing to lose. Just add the ‘student’s’ debt to our multi-trillion-dollar Obamafest.

    This is infuriating!! Yes, I’ve seen these fat loans, free rides to college, grants “granted” to wholly incapable non-White students at the high school level. That they’re admitted to colleges in the first place is obscene in and of itself.

    And, California is about to extend this loan/grant/free ride “privilege” to illegal immigrants!!

    Why not default? They simply join the food stamp crowd:

    According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, food stamp usage has increased almost 60 percent since 2007.

    Bon

  • MAJ

    This higher education scam is supported by easy federal student loans that white taxpayers cover for the low IQ non-whites who will default or drop-out.

  • CDE

    I know what the stats mean, however, I was a “non-traditional” student while in college. I went back at 30 and it took me more than four years to finish. I worked full time and took afternoon and night classes, usually one class a semester. But I did finish. However, I think the four year plan is an outdated model.