Are Colleges Becoming Dropout Factories?

Jordan Weissmann raises that issue in the latest Atlantic Monthly:

The phrase “dropout factory” is ordinarily applied to America’s failing high schools — the ones where students are expected to fall through the cracks, where those who make it past graduation and on to college are considered the exceptions, the lucky survivors. But by that definition, another level of U.S. education counts as a “dropout factory”: our entire higher education system.

That’s the basic message of a recent article by Reuters‘ Lou Carlozo, which digs into the reasons why so many American college students fail to finish their educations. Just 56 percent of students who embark on a bachelor’s degree program finish within six years, according to a 2011 Harvard study titled Pathways to Prosperity. Just 29 percent of those who seek an associate’s degree obtain it within three years. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, just 46 percent of Americans complete college once they start, worst among the 18 countries it tracks.

We’re behind Slovakia. Slovakia.

Is better vocational training the answer?  You can read the full piece here.

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