While the proportion of high school graduates going on to college has risen dramatically, the percent of entering college students finishing a bachelor’s degree has not. In 1972, just over half (53%) of all high school graduates went on to college and 39% of those students finished a BA within 8.5 years of leaving high school. Twenty years later, 81% of high school graduates attended college, but only 42% completed a bachelor’s degree. As a result, the proportion of the population attaining college access—and therefore “some college”—has increased much faster than the proportion of the population succeeding in earning college degrees.
What can we do about this? For some thoughts, see my new paper, A Federal Agenda for Promoting Student Success and Degree Completion, published today by the DC-based Center for American Progress.