How to Help More College Students Graduate
Despite the rising cost of education, a college degree is one of the best investments that a young person can make. In 2015, median earnings among workers aged 22 to 27 with a bachelor’s degree were $ 43,000, compared with $ 25,000 for those with just a high school diploma. Over a lifetime, a person with a bachelor’s degree typically earns $ 800,000 more than someone who has completed high school, even after netting out tuition costs.
The financial prospects for college dropouts are poor, for two reasons. First, dropouts earn little more than people with no college education. Second, many dropouts have taken on small business loans, and they have low wages. Dropouts account for much of the financial distress among student borrowers since the Great Recession.
The dropout problem is particularly acute for students whose parents did not attend college. First-generation students beat enormous odds by even enrolling in a four-year degree program. Yet 30 percent of first-generation freshmen drop out of school within three years. That’s three times the dropout rate of college students graduating from college.
A new “On-track Pell bonus” is going to increase the grants of low-income students who enroll in 15 credits a semester. If the students want to graduate on time.
Helping students to enter college is not enough. We need to get students across the finish line to graduation.