10 Alarming Statistics on College Graduation Rates in America

Americans get it rammed into their heads at an early age that graduating from college ought to be their ultimate goal, because it’s the only way to get ahead in the business world; even those with no intention to enroll still end up exposed to the rhetoric. Education is absolutely essential for a nation (and humanity itself) to thrive and grow, and one would assume that this status would mean equal opportunities and outcomes. Nope. As the following statistics reflect, the country still has a ways to go before it achieves its postsecondary schooling goals.

  1. Black males have the lowest graduation rates

    As of the last round of statistics released by the National Center for Education Statistics. Black males enrolled in both four-year and two-year programs suffered from the lowest graduation rates, regardless of whether they attended private, public, for-profit, or non-profit institutions. When it comes to four-year programs, only 15% complete their degrees within the given time frame. The number increases amongst two-year students, though, with 20.4% finishing within 150% of the usual time frame.

  2. 1.2 million graduates don’t actually count as graduates

    When governing bodies calculate graduation rate statistics, they only check out the results of full-timing colleges. The successes and failures of part-time students do not factor into the ultimate numbers, so the nation’s real graduation rate remains utterly obscured and incomplete. So at least 1.2 million graduating college seniors are not reflected once statistic release party time excellent rolls around.

  3. And a further 2.1 million graduates are not recognized as having graduated

    Not only does the government manage to bungle its statistics regarding what sort of students complete college in what span of time, they also fail to recognize transfers. Individuals who begin their degrees at one institution before sending their credits, money, and warm bodies to another (like the very common “community college for two years, a four-year after” arrangement) do not count. When they completed their schooling within the polled time frame, 2.1 million American college kids fitting that description did not wind up in the numbers.

  4. Forty-three percent of American college students take longer than six years to finish their degrees

    Not because of some “kids today!” diatribe on laziness. Because cost stands as one of — if not the No. 1 — major concerns for college students, many minimize debt by tailoring their schedules around work. Sometimes this means taking semesters off to rake in as much moolah as possible, or enrolling part-time (even though statistics do not reflect this decision). It makes sense that students in four-year programs these days might not finish as fast as their predecessors.

  5. Only 29% of students in two-year programs finish in under three years

    And the very same logic from the above listing applies here. In addition, many non-starters drop-outs realize just how many professional opportunities in fields like tech and journalism do not even require a degree if the knowledge and/or talent are already present. Hey, it saves money and time.

  6. Private, for-profit schools have startlingly low graduation rates

    For as popular as they are for their flexibility and accessibility, private, for-profit schools lag behind any other type when it comes to graduation rates. After six years of schooling, a staggering 78% fail to complete their degrees. Disconcerting to say the least, especially since such institutions so often advertise themselves as an affordable way to complete a college education and enter into the workforce quicker than usual.

  7. Average debt for graduates keeps increasing

    Because a college education practically requires the selling of one’s internal organs on the black market to be a reasonably affordable venture, graduates manage to experience escalating debt levels every year. On average, they now walk away owing $26,600 as of 2011, marking an increase of 5% from 2010’s findings. Nationally, they owe a combined sum of $1 trillion. Since 10% of college graduates default on their loans within two years … yikes.

  8. Half of today’s college graduates are un- or underemployed

    As with the increasing debt load, the fact that attaining a college degree does not guarantee a job after graduation — no matter what mommy and daddy said – also deters many students from pursuing or completing their schooling. The actual number is slightly higher than one out of every two, though, with around 53.6% of new graduates either failing to find a job or entering into one with lower pay than they’re qualified to receive. Totally awesome, considering how much debt they need to pay off!

  9. Latin Americans receive the lowest amount of master’s degrees

    On a positive note, the number of master’s degrees conferred happens to increase every year! But discrepancies still exist when it comes to equal postbac opportunities for black and Latin American students. Only 2% of the latter demographic graduated with a master’s degree, compared to 5% for the former, and an increase did not occur between 1995 and 2010. Schools need to understand the roots of these gaps and work toward addressing them for a more diverse student body.

  10. America’s global ranking? 16 out of 26

    The United States may be the home of rugged individualism and an epidemic of “WE’RE #1!!!!!” but in reality it’s more like #16. Out of 26. When it comes to degree holders between the ages of 25 and 34, it lags behind many nations of similar economic advantages. In order to get back into a competitive groove, an additional 800,000 graduates need to enter the workforce each year, and the workforce itself needs 16 million employees to satisfy mounting demands.

Posted on 12/21/12 | by Staff Writers | in Education | No Comments »

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