Four Year Degree Completion: Myth and Endangered Species

College graduationWe published “A Post Graduate Year; what’s that?” a few years back that’s read and cited on a regular basis. Several recent studies, articles, and their statistics continue lending support and credence to the possibilities of a PG year for some students.

These three articles and their statistical citations paint a picture of just how rare four year degree completion has become.

Measuring Up 2008: The National Report Card on Higher Education provides the latest solid data on college completion rates:

The US ranks 15th out 29 developed nations for degrees granted. 18 of every 100 students enrolled earn a degree.

Nearly one-half of students in American four year colleges don’t finish within six years.

59% of whites earn a bachelor’s degree within 6 years of starting.
47% of Hispanics¬† earn a bachelor’s degree within 6 years of starting.
14% of African Americans¬† earn a bachelor’s degree within 6 years of starting.

The Four-Year College Myth by Neil Swidey (Boston Globe), paints the picture of normalcy regarding degree plans longer than four years. Fewer than 10% adults took the “traditional” path and received their BA within four years of high school. As Swidley writes, “By definition, that’s no longer traditional. It’s radical, and it makes you wonder why we still call them four-year colleges.”

2005 Census data show that only 28 percent of American adults have a bachelor’s degree.

Four Year Graduation Rates:
Public Colleges/Universities-  32 percent
Private Colleges- 54 percent

A Push to Boost College Graduation Rates: Nearly half of students at four-year colleges don’t finish after six years, a report finds.

Photo credit: isabisa

Brian Fisher

A product of both private and public education, Brian Fisher served as a teacher, coach, dorm parent, and administrator at three different boarding schools. Brian also fills the role of Director of Development at Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School, in NH along with being a partner at AdmissionsQuest.

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