Graduation Numbers to be Concerned About


Complete College America and its Alliance of States released their latest report Monday, titled Four-Year Myth. Below are a few numbers, national and Indiana-specific, that explain that title and its consequences.

Nationally

  • At public two-year institutions, 5% of full-time students pursuing associates degrees graduate on time. An extra year costs $15,933 in tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation and other expenses. In addition, students give up approximately $35,000 in lost wages by graduating late. The total cost: $50,933.
  • At public four-year institutions, 19% (non-flagship) and 36% (flagship/very high research) of full-time students graduate on time. An extra year costs $22,826 in tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation and other expenses. In addition, students give up more than $45,000 in lost wages by graduating late. The total cost is over $68,000.
  • Only 50 out of the more than 580 public four-year institutions reviewed have on-time graduation rates at or above 50% for their first-time, full-time students.

Indiana

  • 6% of full-time students pursuing associates degrees at two-year institutions graduate on time. On average, students graduate in four years with 93 credits (rather than the customary 60 credits). Each extra year costs $51,748 in school-related expenses and lost wages.
  • 17% of full-time students at four-year non-flagship institutions graduate on time. On average, students graduate in five years with 143 credits, rather than the customary 120 credits. Each extra year costs $68,176 in school-related expenses and lost wages.
  • 42% of full-time students at four-year flagship/very high research institutions graduate on time. On average, students graduate in 4.4 years with 134 credits, rather than the customary 120 credits. Each extra year costs $68,176 in school-related expenses and lost wages.

According to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the state has a number of  initiatives underway that support on-time completion, including:

  • Requiring clear semester-by-semester degree maps for every public college student
  • Promoting more proactive college advising practices to keep students on track and intervene as needed
  • Launching a statewide “15 to Finish” campaign to change the long standing perception that taking 12 credits per semester is enough to graduate on time

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