Academic Preparedness and College Dropout Rates
According to the U.S Department of Labor, enrollment in higher education is steadily increasing with 69.7% of high-school graduates in 2016 going on to college. However, data on college dropout rates shows that getting into college in the United States is not necessarily correlated to college success. The National Student Clearing house reported that of the first-time undergraduates who matriculated in the fall of 2008, only 55% had finished a degree within six years. It is important to examine to what extent this gap between high school preparedness and college expectations is exacerbating this inequality.
In 2016, students attending college full time were more likely to complete their degree, yet one third of those who attended college part-time had dropped out. One reason students are dropping out of college is the lack of preparation in high school, where students then end up struggling in college classes or taking remedial classes that adds cost and time to complete the degree.
Nontraditional students, including students that are older or have a job or family, face the most challenges in completing a degree, and as a result have higher dropout rates. The United States has the lowest college completion rate in all OECD countries, and this issue is tied to rising tuition, student debt, and youth employment rates.