Behind the completion agenda

Only one of my three kids graduated in four years--the other two took longer. But I was more concerned with them taking 12 hours a semester and being successful than in graduating in four years. I kind of miss the notion that college should be a time of exploration that lets students experiment and find their intellectual passion.  Now that puts them behind and affects our outcomes-based funding formula.  We're now putting students who come in without a major into a college success class. It's probably a good idea, but students defeat the system by declaring any major just to get out of the class.  Unintended consequences.  From CBS MoneyWatch.

Expect your child to graduate from college in four years? Not likely. 
The odds of getting a diploma on time are exceedingly low, according to a new report released this week by Complete College America, a nonprofit organization that works with states to improve graduation rates at public colleges and universities. 
Across the U.S., only 50 out of more than 580 public four-year institutions graduate the majority of their full-time students in four years. At the University of Arizona, for instance, just over a third of students graduate on time, while at Auburn the figure is 36 percent. Other schools where most undergrads fail to complete their degree in fours years include Auburn (36 percent), University of Iowa (44 percent) and Michigan State (48 percent).

At most public universities across the U.S., only 19 percent of full-time students manage to earn their bachelor's degree on time. At flagship schools, which typically serve as the premiere public university in their respective states, 36 percent graduate in four years. 
Community colleges have an even worse record: only five percent of full-time community college students graduate in two years. 
So what's the problem if junior takes an extra semester or three to finish school? Money. Delays in obtaining a bachelor's degree are costing families billions in extra college expenses. Factoring in all the expenses, an additional year of community college boosts the cost by roughly $16,000, according to Complete College America, while a one-year delay in earning a bachelor's degree hikes the price by nearly $23,000.


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