Only 60% of undergraduates enrolled in bachelor's programs graduate in six years; fewer that 40% of students in community colleges graduate or transfer in three years. The scandal and it really is a scandal is that most institutions of higher education arent using the tools that have been proven to change the equation. Its not rocket scienceschools you may never have heard of, like Georgia State University and Valencia (Florida) Community College, are leading the way.
The rationales are unpersuasive.
Some administrators point a finger at high schools for turning out under-prepared students. Yet while the public education system could doubtlessly improve, this excuse wont wash, since, among otherwise similar institutions, graduation rates can vary by as many as 20 percentage points. The dropout problem is especially acute for black and Hispanic students and those from less privileged families. Some officials insist that these students are less well-prepared than their classmates. But that explanation also doesnt fit the facts. Among equally selective schools, similar institutions have very different graduation rates. Whats more, institutions with a similar graduation rate score very differently when it comes to shrinking the achievement gap. Join the conversation, as David Kirp addresses what the dimensions of the college dropout scandal are and what can be done to boost graduation rates and reduce the achievement gap.