Saturday, February 20, 2016

First Generation College Students Dropout Of School At 3 Times The Rate Of Students Who Have College Educated Parents: Dropouts Account For Increase In Financial Problems Paying Student Loans

From The New York Times, The Upshot, Economic View, "How to Help More College Students Graduate" by Susan Dynarski:
The financial prospects for college dropouts are poor, for two reasons. First, dropouts earn little more than people with no college education. Second, many dropouts have taken on student loans, and with their low wages, they have difficulty paying off even small balances. Dropouts account for much of the increase in financial distress among student borrowers since the Great Recession.

The dropout problem is particularly acute for students whose parents did not attend college. First-generation students beat enormous odds by even enrolling in a four-year degree program. Yet 30 percent of first-generation freshmen drop out of school within three years. That is three times the dropout rate of students whose parents graduated from college.

Why is the dropout rate so high, particularly among first-generation students? The consensus among researchers is that there is no single culprit — and, therefore, no silver bullet. First-generation students tend to have less money, have weaker academic preparation and attend colleges with fewer instructional resources. All of these have been shown to increase the likelihood of dropping out.

Critically, first-generation students also miss out on the advice, support and voice of experience provided by parents with firsthand experience of higher education. There is only so much information that overburdened guidance counselors can cram into students during a few short meetings.

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