Colleges and the Four Year Myth

woman-patrick capriolaThe Complete College America is a nonprofit group based in Indianapolis. Recently they announced a report that states the majority of students enrolled at public universities in America, do not graduate on time. The aim to graduate in four years has turned into something called the Four Year Myth. The reality of the system of higher education is that the cost and amount of time it takes to finish is too long. Meanwhile, too few are actually graduating. Across the country of the United States, of 580 public four year colleges only 50 graduate most of their full time students in four years.

The report cited a few reasons why student progress may be delayed. Some students are taking too few courses per semester or enrolled in remediation that did not work. Others lost several credits through a transfer process or were unable to register for required classes. Community colleges have even worse outcomes. Only 5 percent of full time students earned an associate degree within two years. More and more these numbers are becoming a normality. Education policy experts are more commonly stating a duration of six years to complete a bachelor’s degree and three years to graduate with an associate’s degree. If those numbers become the new normal, the statistics may improve but families will be spending several billions in extra dollars. A top solution for these problems is to reduce the expense associated with college.

The report did not include information from private institutions nor did it contain information about the impact of faculty on student learning. A greater number of college counselors may also be a help to these issues. For more information on the report from the Association of American Colleges and Universities, visit NYTimes here.

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Patrick Capriola is a professional educator in Jacksonville, FL with over a decade of experience improving educational outcomes. He has served as a teacher, school administrator, and teacher trainer.