Posted by: thebestthingscomeintwos | September 15, 2009

ED. 217 Week III

An alarming trend is hitting the American higher education system.  The problem?  Students are not graduating.    Colleges are doing an excellent job recruiting students.  Classrooms are more packed than ever but graduation rates are falling.
In Boston, the University of Massachusetts reports that only 33 percent of its entering freshmen graduate within six years.  The University of New Mexico maintains only a 44% graduation rate, while the University of Montana ranks in at only 41%.   According to former Princeton president, William Bowen, these numbers are the norm.  Bowen discusses this disturbing trend in his new book, “Crossing the Finish Line.”
In the book, Bowen sites many reasons why more students are dropping out than finishing.    First, Bowen believes that inadequate high-school preparation is a big reason.   As a second time in college student I completely agree with this.  I was able to graduate high-school with a 4.0 GPA, but felt completely unprepared upon entering college.
Next “Crossing the Finish Line” states that cost of education plays a major role.  Some students simply cannot afford to finish and are forced to enter the work-force full-time.   Hand-in-hand with this is a mismatch between students coming from low-income families and their colleges of choice.  According to a recent study, low-income students who are highly qualified college candidates tend to choose schools with lower admission criteria and graduation rates, even if they are qualified for schools ranked much higher.
A final contributing factor is the fact that colleges are more interested in filling their seats with freshmen than upperclassmen.  Large lecture classes are more cost efficient and most colleges and universities are funded on a per head basis.
Its no secret that major education reform is needed in America on many levels.  This problem however, is not being addressed.  Its true, record numbers of college freshmen are packing campus’s this year, but the statistic we should be looking at is how many are finishing.

If you’d like to read the whole article, check out The New York Times

Want to see where other colleges rank?

Will you see this day?

Will you see this day?


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