February 2, 2010
Why Have College Completion Rates Declined?
The debate over low graduation rates is shaping up like an old Miller Lite commercial–one side shouts, “more money!” and the other shouts, “higher admissions standards!”
By Jay Schalin
Why doesnt Johnny graduate from college?
There are two perspectives on this topic. One suggests that the answer lies within Johnnyhe doesnt study hard enough, he was ill-prepared for college by his earlier education, or he even lacks the aptitude for college-level work. This view is favored by the growing number of reform-minded critics who suggest that college is being oversold, that both the country and Johnny would be better served if he chose some other path to start adulthood than a traditional four-year college education.
The other suggests that Johnny is failing because of circumstances beyond his controlhe lacks the financial ability to study full-time, or the government is not providing enough resources to educate him properly. This is the viewpoint usually held by members of the political establishment who claim we need to produce ever-increasing numbers of college graduate to remain competitive in the global economy.
A new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Why Have College Completion Rates Declined? An Analysis of Changing Student Preparation and Collegiate Resources, attempts to provide an empirical argument for this latter perspective. It suggests that the role of declining financial resources devoted to some sectors of higher education has been overlooked when it comes to low graduation rates. Conversely, it suggests that the effect of an assumed increase in the number of college students with less-than-stellar academic skills has been exaggerated.Posted by: gwixom