“After graduation, I’ll be needing a decent car.”
Considering current graduation rates, you might have a better chance at a bicycle and a bus pass.
Instead of that car, you might be asking: “May I have another semester?”
You may well be planning to graduate from college in four years. But how sure are you of that?
Because a “four year” graduation path is becoming an endangered species.
Do Mom and Dad have an extra $25,000 to $58,000 for your “extended” college experience?
Wouldn’t that be nice if that were an easy addition to the family budget!
Sadly, too many families are spending a great deal more than they should on college. When a student does not graduate in four years, an additional semester (or more) can wreak havoc on the overall cost of that education.
Why are graduation rates so important?
As a follow up to my last post on Retention Rates, four year Graduation rates are not where one should expect them to be:
- Even at highly selective schools, the average graduation rate in four years is less than 89% (good, but you’d expect better)
- At 4-year Private colleges, 55.1% graduate in four years.
- At 4-year Public colleges, it’s a horrendous 39.6% who graduate in four years.
- Completion trends, aka: Graduation rates, have been falling for the past 10-15 years on average and that has lead to higher costs for many families.
And the trend is getting worse.*
What leads to low graduation rates?
Some typical factors are:
- Choosing the wrong school and having to transfer to another
- Discovering the plethora of majors available, and deciding to double major and minor just for “kicks!”
- Taking a semester abroad or off, without validating what classes are required to graduate on time, and if those classes will be offered the semester you get back
The first key to success, both in academic, personal and financial terms is for the family, parents and students, to plan for college in the high school years.
There’s a reason we named our membership program College Search GamePLAN.
If you have planned well (or not), once admitted, a great way to avoid more than four years of college is to meet with your Academic Advisor as soon as you arrive on campus as a freshman, and continue working with them throughout your tenure at college.
*College graduation rates are not improving
According to a newly released study from ACT, Inc., completion (graduation) rates at four-year private colleges are decreasing (down 4.3% to 55.1% since 2006) and are also declining at four-year public colleges (down 33% from the mid-1980′s to 39.6%).
Looking at the study, the four-year graduation rate at public colleges has remained under 40% since 2006.
And if you can avoid unnecessary college debt, you might be able to afford that sporty roadster.