By Imanol Lopez
High school dropout rates have been decreasing on average in the United States but that has not been the same for college dropout percentages. Completing a college degree is often seen as a critical step toward a successful career, and statistics reinforce the correlation between higher education and job security. However, college dropout rates in the United States remain a concern, with approximately 40% of undergraduate students leaving universities and colleges annually.
The college dropout effects might not always be negative we have seen some successful individuals, like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, are college dropouts, and we have also seen many college dropouts hurt their annual income with the consequences of not completing a degree often reflected in financial difficulties. On average, college dropouts can expect to earn $21,000 less than their graduate counterparts, leading to a 35% income disparity. This financial gap is associated with limited career opportunities available to college graduates.
Furthermore, college dropouts face a higher probability of living in poverty compared to those with a high school diploma or higher education. This underscores the importance of completing a degree for economic stability. Financial knowledge also plays a role, as college graduates demonstrate better financial behaviors than college students and dropouts. The college dropout general statistics in the United States, the college dropout rate stands at 40%, highlighting a significant issue in the education system. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ranks the U.S. 19th out of 28 countries in graduation rates and only 41% of students graduate within four years without any delays which would push back their graduation dates due to them not registering for classes, failing classes, etc.
Notably, we have seen that college freshmen constitute 30% of the total dropout rate, and the dropout rates increase significantly for students aged 24-29. Economic factors, particularly student loan debt, contribute significantly to dropout rates, with 51.04% of students leaving college due to financial challenges. The college dropout rates for each demographic has rates that may vary by demographics, with disparities evident among racial and gender groups. Asian students have the lowest dropout rates, while Black students face higher dropout rates. Women generally fare better than men in college, with higher enrollment and graduation rates. The financial background also influences dropout rates, with low-income students facing challenges in meeting the costs of higher education. For the college dropout rates for special groups, it explain how students in foster care face significant challenges, with only 8-10% graduating from college. However, with support, their graduation rates can increase by 44%. Students with disabilities also experience higher dropout rates due to a lack of accommodations in higher education institutions. Retention rates, indicating the percentage of first-time freshmen who continue enrollment, average around 71% in U.S. colleges. Graduation rates, however, reveal that only 59% of students complete their degrees on time. Massachusetts reports the highest college retention rates by state at 44%, while West Virginia ranks lowest at 21%.
The cause for many college dropouts has to do with financial pressure is a leading cause of college dropout, with 38% of students citing it as a primary reason. Academic pressure and difficulties in balancing work-study arrangements contribute to dropout rates. Many students find it difficult to work a job and go to school due to all the time and money it consumes which could lead to many students feeling burnt out because many students will have class in the morning and then must clock into work to pay their tuition off or even pay off some student loans that were needed to be able to attend school. Additionally, students unprepared for university-level schooling may face challenges, as indicated by the 28% dropout rate attributed to academic pressure that is due to stress many students are suffering due to the classes they take especially when it finals or midterms where many classes grades are based on these two events of finals.
At the end of the day college, we are seeing college students failing when it comes to completing their studies for a variety of reasons. This is not the end of the day for most due to the amount of college dropouts that have made billions of dollars, but it doesn’t hurt if we can improve this percentage. The best way this can happen is by making schooling more affordable and understanding for students with a lot on their plate which could be jobs or household responsibilities.