College Graduation Rates

Some schools have very high graduation rates and some don’t.  As expected, the more selective a schools is (admitting only the top students) the more likely their rates will be higher.  National average is about 60%. Is that good?  That means that 40% are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars and not obtaining a degree but are still saddled with student loans.

Undergraduate Retention and Graduation Rates


The 6-year graduation rate (150 percent graduation rate) for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year degree-granting institution in fall 2010 was 60 percent. That is, by 2016 some 60 percent of students had completed a bachelor’s degree at the same institution where they started in 2010. The 6-year graduation rate was 59 percent at public institutions, 66 percent at private nonprofit institutions, and 26 percent at private for-profit institutions. The 6-year graduation rate was 63 percent for females and 57 percent for males; it was higher for females than for males at both public (62 vs. 56 percent) and private nonprofit (68 vs. 63 percent) institutions. However, at private for-profit institutions, males had a higher 6-year graduation rate than females (28 vs. 23 percent).
Six-year graduation rates for first-time, full-time students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree in fall 2010 varied according to institutional selectivity. In particular, 6-year graduation rates were highest at institutions that were the most selective (i.e., those that accepted less than 25 percent of applicants) and were lowest at institutions that were the least selective (i.e., those that had open admissions policies). For example, at 4-year institutions with open admissions policies, 32 percent of students completed a bachelor’s degree within 6 years. At 4-year institutions where the acceptance rate was less than 25 percent of applicants, the 6-year graduation rate was 88 percent.

Bill Gates: US college dropout rates are ‘tragic’
Over 44 million Americans collectively hold more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt and only 54.8 percent of students graduate in six years. This means that millions of Americans are taking on thousands of dollars in debt without a diploma to show for it.

some schools try to keep their graduation rates high by denying at-risk students and privileging wealthy students in the admissions process

Only about half of all Texas students graduate from college within six years

“Students can get tunnel vision about going to a certain school. … They will take on huge debt and have cheerleaders the whole time saying go straight to this university,” Tillett said.

Are College Graduation Rates Important?

Many schools with the highest graduation rates are also the colleges with the most selective, elite standards. They only accept exceptional, high-performing students, so understandably, more of those students graduate. It doesn’t mean the college is better per se; it just means those students were going to graduate at any college, because they were driven anyway.

It’s worth remembering Selingo’s warning: choosing a college based on graduation rate is like buying a car based on its safety ratings: it’s “just one measure of many.” Sure, it tells you something about the college, but don’t let it rule your choices, especially if you’re a non-traditional student. Educate yourself fully about any college you’re considering – not just graduation rates, but all of the factors that go into making an education worth your investment.

 

Why an Honors Student Wants to Skip College and Go to Trade School

The friction around the best path forward after high school is popping up around the country as anxious students and families try to figure out how to pay for four years of college. At the same time, business groups and state governments make the case for a free or much cheaper vocational education.

The conversation is being fueled by questions about the declining value of a college degree as well as the rising cost of tuition and student debt. Low unemployment and a strong job market are exacerbating an already growing skills gap, raising prospects for tradespeople like welders who are in high demand.

Still, the decision to forgo a four-year degree runs counter to 30 years of conventional wisdom.

Even as more students enroll in college, “40% to 50% of kids never get a college certificate or degree,”

Click for Full Article

College admissions tests are holding students back

Businessweek: The SAT

“…college applicants should also be asked to demonstrate their creativity, practical intelligence, and even wisdom, qualities which are in shorter supply than cleverness. “If you look at why this country is so screwed up,” he says, “it’s not because the people running it have low SATs.”

“Designed to ferret out hidden talent, the tests have become, for some students at least, barriers to higher education. Scores are highly correlated with family income; Harvard law professor Lani Guinier calls the SAT a “wealth test.” “

“Admissions officers at about 850 four-year colleges now make standardized tests optional for some or all of their applicants, according to FairTest, a nonprofit watchdog.”

“Imagine if hospitals evaluated incoming patients the way colleges evaluate applicants: Only the healthiest cases would be admitted.”

“Sternberg, the formerly stupid first-grader, wound up running the University of Wyoming this fall after academic postings at Yale, Tufts, and Oklahoma State. At all three schools his research showed that measuring students’ creativity and practicality could predict their college success better than plain SAT scores could. The message: Real life is messy. You’re not given five answers to choose from. And America shouldn’t depend on something resembling an IQ test to rake geniuses from the rubbish.”

Alternatives to attending a University and acquiring a big debt for the privilege

Mark Cuban writes about “The coming meltdown in college education

…Right now there is a never ending supply of buyers. Students who can’t get jobs or who think that by going to college they enhance their chances to get a job. Its the collegiate equivalent of flipping houses. You borrow as much money as you can for the best school you can get into and afford and then you “flip” that education for the great job you are going to get when you graduate.

Except those great jobs aren’t always there. I don’t think any college kid took on tens of thousands of dollars in debt with the expectation they would get a job working for minimum wage against tips.

At some point potential students will realize that they can’t flip their student loans for a job in 4 years. In fact they will realize that college may be the option for fun and entertainment, but not for education. Prices for traditional higher education will skyrocket so high over the next several years that potential students will start to make their way to non accredited institutions.

While colleges and universities are building new buildings for the english , social sciences and business schools, new high end, un-accredited  , BRANDED schools are popping up that will offer better educations for far, far less and create better job opportunities.

As an employer I want the best prepared and qualified employees. I could care less if the source of their education was accredited by a bunch of old men and women who think they know what is best for the world. I want people who can do the job. I want the best and brightest. Not a piece of paper.

The competition from new forms of education is starting to appear. Particularly in the tech world. Online and physical classrooms are popping up everywhere. They respond to needs in the market. THey work with local businesses to tailor the education to corporate needs. In essence assuring those who excel that they will get a job. All for far far less money than traditional schools.

The number of people being prepared for the work world in these educational environments is exploding.

It’s just a matter o time until we see the same meltdown in traditional college education. Like the real estate industry, prices will rise until the market revolts. Then it will be too late. STudents will stop taking out the loans traditional Universities expect them to. And when they do tuition will come down. And when prices come down Universities will have to cut costs beyond what they are able to. They will have so many legacy costs, from tenured professors to construction projects to research they will be saddled with legacy costs and debt in much the same way the newspaper industry was. Which will all lead to a de-levering and a de-stabilization of the University system as we know it.

And it can’t happen fast enough.

…As far as the purpose of college, I am a huge believer that you go to college to learn how to learn. However, if that gaol is subverted because traditional universities, public and private, charge so much to make that happen, I believe that system will collapse and there will be better alternatives created.

Online video classrooms with lively discussions dont need a traditional campus to teach kids how to learn. Discussion groups built around Khan Academy like classes dont require a traditional campus to teach kids how to learn. I’ve seen better discussions and interactions on twitter than in some of the traditional classrooms I have visited. The opportunities for online interactive video classrooms is going to grow quickly and will be far more cost effective than traditional universities.

Paul Krugman writes on a similar subject titled Wasting Our Minds

even if students do manage, somehow, to “get the education,” which they do all too often by incurring a lot of debt, they’ll be graduating into an economy that doesn’t seem to want them.

Friday Night Lights gets it when it comes to College Admissions

I’m sorry to see Friday Night Lights go.  I just finished watching the fifth and last season.  It’s been one of my favorite shows on network TV.  It’s not without its flaws. I found some of the writing and acting annoying.  I also found it disturbing that there are so many scenes showing underage kids drinking, and not just at their parties but inside bars!  But there was also some excellent writing and in the final episodes I was surprised and impressed with the story line involving the mother Tami Taylor.  Her principal signed her up for a panel discussion on college admissions where she was discovered by a college administrator and later offered a job at the college.  Her point of view is exactly on target.  It’s too bad it’s only fiction.  Maybe the new Superintendent of Lake Travis School District that will replace Rocky Kirk will have a better understanding on the Race To Nowhere.

Right click this link and download file before viewing: ShowExcerpt

Parents should make their children bear some of their college costs

My parents felt an obligation to pay for their 5 kids college education.  Though I worked part time in college, and I’m sure my parents appreciated it, they never made me feel that I had to.   I would guess most parents would want to pay for college, if they can afford it. This article that appeared in the Austin American Statesman suggests you make your kids take on part of the responsibility of paying for college, even if you can afford to pay for it.  Click Here to  go to the article.