College Dropout Rate Called National Crisis in New Report

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.


  1. 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?

  2. 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.
    Yet, we do not give them any information in that area. I created a model for college students to take before starting college classes, but it will cost the college for the first class, will that is not what the for profit colleges want to give their students. It may cost them funds, so I continue to see this high drop out rate in for profit colleges. They get their monies, but the students are left with no degree and a loan they can not pay. Low income families are on survival and do not have the time, nor the knowledge from generations back on how to raise a child that has developmental stages on maturity in the areas of, mental and emotional. My family believed their was no reason for females to go to college, not because they were awful, but because that’s all they knew., I come from that back ground, my grandparents could not read or write and I started college at 40 yrs. Until our schools recognize that having a counselor on campus is not the answer, give our young people a chance to get through the hard times and some skills and awareness that assist them. Everyone is making money off our youth and you wonder why they give up. Please check out website: this has been made into an educational model just for emotional maturity.
    Kay Bennett

  3. One of the reasons as to why students fail to graduate from college, is their lack of academic preparation. The way one studies in high school is completely different than how one should go about it in college. Students who earn poor grades typically blame themselves and assume it’s because they are “dumb”. in truth, it has nothing to do with their level on intelligence, it has do with ones studying and test-taking techniques. Fortunately, such strategies can be learned and as a result, ones grades can turned around. Colleges need to help students transition into college, not just within their social life, but more importantly, within their academics.

    To help students to succeed in college, I wrote a book, College Studying Styles, which aims to address not only how to approach studying and exams, but how to reap the many benefits that college serves.

    I also created a helpful website that is an online toolbox of for college success:

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    So the number one cause for #1 is predatory colleges.
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    The most probable reason for the majority of academic failure is having to work full time and go to college full time.

    Banks and Colleges are the issue, not the student.

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