I am rarely shocked by things I read in the newspaper. Rarely. But today, I spit out my coffee (figuratively) when I read in the New York Times that only half of the students who enroll in college end up with a bachelor’s degree. At the University of Massachusetts, Boston, only 33 % graduate within six years. Wuhhh? What are we doing wrong? William Bowen, author of Crossing the Finish Line attributes part of the problem to the fact that many low-income students with above average GPAs and SAT scores do not attend the best college they could. Instead, they choose less selective schools that are closer and don’t make them go through extensive and painful financial aid processes. Aside from these economic factors, Bowen claims that students see no need to graduate in four years. There seems to be some deep institutional problems that contribute to this emphasis on merely enrollment. Policy makers hand out money to colleges based on how many students those colleges enroll, not how many graduate.
Check out the stats that accompanied the article.