December 2, 2014

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Most College Students Don’t Earn a Degree in 4 Years, Study Finds.

The vast majority of students at American public colleges do not graduate on time, according to a new report from Complete College America, a nonprofit group based in Indianapolis.

“Students and parents know that time is money,” said the report, called “Four-Year Myth.” “The reality is that our system of higher education costs too much, takes too long and graduates too few.”

At most public universities, only 19 percent of full-time students earn a bachelor’s degree in four years, the report found. Even at state flagship universities — selective, research-intensive institutions — only 36 percent of full-time students complete their bachelor’s degree on time. . . .

The lengthy time to graduate has become so much the status quo that education policy experts now routinely use benchmarks of six years to earn a bachelor’s degree and three years for an associate degree.

“Using these metrics may improve the numbers, but it is costing students and their parents billions of extra dollars — $15,933 more in cost of attendance for every extra year of a public two-year college and $22,826 for every extra year at a public four-year college,” the report said. “Hands down, our best strategy to make college more affordable and a sure way to boost graduation rates over all is to ensure that many more students graduate on time.”

If it were a priority to colleges, they’d do things differently.

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