A Certificate, Then a Degree

“There’s plenty of high-profile concern and handwringing about college debt in the United States, with some aspiring presidential candidates offering dueling proposals to cancel all $1.5 trillion in outstanding student-loan obligations. But the far bigger problem affecting college-goers in America is a completion crisis. Far too many students who attend college do not graduate. More than 40 percent of all first-time, full-time college students in the United States fail to graduate from four-year programs within six years. If they are in the top income quartile, they are more likely to graduate—the rate is 62 percent. But that still means more than one third of relatively well-off students do not graduate. And it is worse for individuals in the bottom income quartile. The graduation rate for these students is a catastrophic 13 percent.”


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