Low college graduation rates, high loan amounts give cause for concern
President Barack Obama is working to move the country’s post-secondary education agenda, which for the past few decades has been primarily been focused on access, to instead address the value of an American education.
Obama believes schools should be more up front about the quality of education they provide in relation to the cost. The average college graduate has more than $25,000 in student loan debt. Yet, while student borrowing remains high, literacy rates among higher education learners has fallen in the past decade, leaving employers with a shortage of highly trained workers.
This unbalance has prompted the Obama administration to question what students and the government — which spends $140 billion on federal grants and loans each year — are getting for their money.
Data from the policy and analysis group College Measures and the American Institutes for Research show:
- 40% of students at four year universities do not graduate
- 40% of students at two year universities graduate or transfer
- 20% of full-time community college students do not return for a second year
High numbers of college drop outs create an expense that not only weighs on individual students but also on taxpayers making higher education in America “unduly expensive,” according to a commission which met during The George W. Bush administration. Helping students visualize the cost to success ratio of college could help to slow the average debt increase among college students.
By Kelsey Hildebrandt