In the latest Education Outlook, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) education expert Mark Schneider and American Institutes for Research economist Lu Michelle Yin explain the harmful impact of low community college graduation rates on students and states.
Key findings include:
• LOW RATES: Community colleges are serving more and more students, but how well they're serving them (or taxpayers) is debatable: only 1 in 4 graduates, compared to 3 in 5 at four year schools.
• ECONOMIC IMPACT: Cutting the dropout rate by half would generate substantial gains: the 160,000 "new" graduates would earn $30 billion more in lifetime income--and create an additional $5.3 billion in total taxpayer revenue.
• POLICY SOLUTIONS: Community colleges can boost graduation rates and save money by streamlining the degree path, using online courses, and borrowing innovations from for-profit schools. Another potential game-changer is the competency-based model, which has helped Florida’s Valencia College achieve a 40 percent graduation rate.
Read the full report here.
Mark Schneider is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and vice president at the American Institutes for Research. He is the author and editor of the forthcoming book Getting to Graduation: The Completion Agenda in Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012) and can be reached at [email protected]. Lu Michelle Yin is an economist and researcher at the American Institutes for Research and can be reached at [email protected]. For help reaching any of AEI’s education scholars please contact Jenna Talbot at [email protected].
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