Should more high school graduates go to college?
This question has been getting a lot of attention since President Obama announced that one of his prime education goals would be to get more Americans to attend college.
That’s a laudable and ambitious goal. I worry, however, about students, who are unprepared for college. They often get entangled in a huge financial mess when they drop out with student loans.
All you have to do is look at federal education statistics to appreciate that a lot of college dreams (but not the bills) end up shattered.
Only 58% of undergraduates earn a bachelor’s degree within six years. When you slice and dice the numbers, the grad rates for some groups is far lower. Here are the numbers:
Graduating Within Six Years
- 67% Asians/Pacific Islanders
- 60% Whites
- 49% Hispanics
- 42% African-Americans
- 40% Native American Indians
Women fare better than men in earning their degree. Among women, 67% graduate within six years while 62% of men do the same.
In some cases, colleges clearly failed the dropout casualties. In others, marginal students should never have aimed for a four-year college. Eighty percent of high school students in the bottom quarter of their classes never earn a bachelor’s or associate’s degree.
So what should these young people do? The New York Times ran an interesting article over the weekend, Plan B: Skip College, that attempted to address that very question.
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