1:11pm January 24, 2013

College Dropout Rate Called National Crisis in New Report


A new report on the college dropout rate featured depressing statistics:

— 46% of those who enter a U.S. college fail to graduate within six years
— only 37% of African Americans graduate within 6 years
— only 42% of Hispanic students graduate within 6 years

The report, American Dream 2.0, asserts that at a time when college tuitions are skyrocketing faster than income, financial aid is in decline.  As a result, student loan debt is at record highs.  Since 2002, student loan borrowing has doubled.   It is now at $113 billion.  Many students end up with large debt and no degree in the end.

The report makes recommendations to break the cycle:

  • Make the financial aid simple and transparent
  • Embrace innovations that serve all students
  • Urge institutions, states, and students to share responsibility for producing more graduates without compromising access or affordability

The report also called for a mandate to tie financial aid to graduation success. The Obama Administration attempted to regulate for-profit colleges via “gainful employment” rules but the banking lobby in Washington won the battle and weakened the proposal severely.   They also sued.  A federal judge put the proposal on hold in July. The gainful employment rules set to weed out predatory lenders who burden students with debt from diploma mills that yield no results.

“Education is an economic issue,” says Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League and member of the coalition behind the report. “We have to build a more equitable system of higher education to make us more competitive in the world economically.”

The American Dream 2.0 report was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  The report has been endorsed by state lawmakers, college presidents, civil rights leaders, and business leaders.

About the Author

Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist who analyses politics and justice reform. She created Crewof42.com, a blog that covers the work of African American members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke has also been a staffer for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and Director of Communications for Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN). She has had a very diverse career in politics and media and appears weekly on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin. She has also appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews, Politics Nation with Al Sharpton and Up with Steve Kornacki on MSNBC. She is also a contributing writer for NBCNews.com and TheRoot.com Ms. Burke has also authored three books of photography including two on President Obama's 2008 campaign for the presidency and one with Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee. Ms. Burke was born in the Bronx, New York and grew up on Long Island. She holds a B.A. in History from The American University. E-mail: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @LVBurke. Instagram: LVB325.



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  3. I work with a lot of first generation students and one of the problems facing them is the lack of adequate college prep offered at public schools, particularly in cities such as Oakland. These students, who are trying so hard to succeed, often have to take remedial classes to learn what should have been taught in their public high schools, thus making college a longer and more expensive process. I was recently working with a new program to help underserved students gain access to college and I realized that the students didn’t have the resources to buy laptops for college. When I asked the head of the program how these students were supposed to be successful without something so basic, his reply was that there were usually computers available in college libraries. How high are we going to stack the odds against these students?

  4. [...] in student loans in the hopes that they can prove her wrong, college dropout rates are rising, with 46% of college students failing to receive their diploma within six years of beginning their journey into secondary [...]

  5. [...] education, or worse yet, drop out and see large debts but no credentials to show for it. Today, 46% of students entering college fail to graduate within 6 years. The kids who do graduate are saddled [...]

  6. [...] dropout rates, and are increasingly turning to technology as a (typically short-term) solution. According to a report from Jan. 2013, 46 percent of those who enter a U.S. college fail to graduate within six [...]

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  8. [...] dropout rates and are increasingly turning to technology as a (typically short-term) solution. According to a report from Jan. 2013, 46 percent of those who enter a U.S. college fail to graduate within six [...]

  9. I have taught in colleges and what I am seeing is first generational students do not have a chance, why? Because they are emotionally not prepared for high school or college.
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