The complaints of student debt loan that many in the United States have come after their graduation and a nice degree. What is hidden in those complaints are the numbers of college dropouts that also have student loan debt and nothing to really show for it. A college graduate has a better chance to get a job, but more students than ever before are dropping out because they just can’t afford to continue on.
The 4 year graduation rate in the United States has risen from 38% to 43%, but the country is only ranked 11th in overall graduation rates.
College Dropouts Facts
Although the US is falling in comparative rates, there are still some interesting statistics to see. For the 55-64 age group, the US is one of the top 3 countries in the world for graduation rates. The sad reality, however, is that most students in the US dropout when they’re about halfway done. When community colleges are included in the total dropout rate, 53% of US students choose to permanently drop out of college. That’s the second worst dropout rate in the world.
- Over the course of a lifetime, a college degree for a woman in the US is only worth an extra $185,000 of income on average. Only in Ireland do women earn more with a degree.
- With the higher costs of education, the reduction of lifetime income is only going to continue decrease over time and saddle a student with long-term debts that must be handled.
- Only 50% of Americans who are in the top income brackets have a college degree, but less than 10% of Americans below the poverty line have one.
- Government subsidies account for just $9,200 per student in college, but every student that graduates will provide the government with $231k of total income.
- Because there is no guarantee of income after receiving a degree, many students are just avoiding the problem as best as possible by choosing to drop out before becoming too entrenched in debt.
Although finances are clearly part of the issue when it comes to college dropouts, there is also the fact that the typical college atmosphere is reflective of the “normal” classroom environment. Some students just can’t thrive in that environment and it makes learning for them difficult. If more alternative learning institutions would be available so that non-traditional learning opportunities would be available, especially in the US, then dropout rates might lower somewhat. Let’s face it: not everyone can absorb information from a lecture, which is still one of the most popular college teaching methods.
Have College Dropout Rates Become a Crisis?
- 46% of students who enter into a college program will fail to graduate within 6 years.
- Only 37% of African American students who enter into a college degree program will graduate within 6 years.
- Despite these high graduation failure rates, the amount of student loan borrowing has doubled since 2002, reaching a total annual amount of $113 billion.
- Only 29% of students who enter a 2 year program will graduate from it in at least 3 years.
- The total amount of student debt that is held by Americans exceeds $1 trillion.
- Students that attend for-profit schools to get their education are more likely to default on their student loans, whether they drop out of school or graduate.
- There were 17.5 million students enrolled in colleges and universities in the US in 2013.
The traditional college experience is romanticized in film and literature, but the reality is that for many years, a college or university would just take the cash from a student and give them a nice pat on the back. There was no ongoing guidance, even when a student was assigned a personal counselor. There was a black and white attitude. You were either going to succeed or you were going to fail. To the learning institution, it didn’t really matter which category any student fell into. To lower college dropout rates, universities and colleges need to do more to recognize how students learn and be able to adapt to these differences so that more students can achieve. There will always be students who drop out, but with one of the world’s highest rates of dropouts, the US can and should do more.
Even The Best Universities Have Dropout Rates
- The best dropout rate in the US is at the University of District Colombia, which has a dropout rate of just 8%.
- Texas Southern, Haskell Indian Nations, Oglala Lakota, and Chicago State all have dropout rates that are below 15%.
- 67% of students who drop out of school say they do so in order to support their family, but there is another 48% who also state that they could not afford the ongoing costs of school.
- The need for an advanced degree is becoming necessary as only 41% of the US work force has just a high school diploma.
- All of the net job growth for the last 40 years has been in fields where some post-secondary education is necessary.
- The difference between the US and other countries is that if college is not an option, vocational training begins early, while a student is still within the high school grades, so they can be prepared for the work force with good skills.
The question that is often asked in school is this: “When will I ever use this?” When was the last time you used an advanced algebraic equation to complete your professional responsibilities? Education needs to include some of these items so that students can be well-rounded, of course, but there should be an equal emphasis on the amount of work skills that are taught to students so they can enter into the Middle Class and not have to worry about being stuck with a massive amount of student debt. Unless changes are made to the current educational system, the US is still going to be in the bottom tier of countries that are tracked in this specific educational opportunities.
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