How to Improve College Graduate Rates

Attending college is one of the biggest risk-reward scenarios in the United States. The monetary and time expenditure of university is immense, and all too often proves to be far too much of a difficulty to complete, for several variables. These can range from education content to affordability. Penn State University’s full student body graduation rate has been varying between a declines to remaining stagnant at around 86%, a trend that began in 2012. For those who do graduate, they are not quite out of the thick of it, with a student loan crisis still booming. A staggering 13% of students will default on their loans, as of 2014.

Researchers have scrambled to find methods of combating drop-outs and improving the college experience. One such way to improve overall graduation rates is increasing college credit courses offered in high schools. Many high schools across the nation take part in programs that permit classes to act as early college courses, covering major program recommendations and providing credits prior to ever attending the university. Studies have revealed that students taking Advanced Placement courses in high schools performed better on exams when informed that the exam would provide college credit.

This would address two key points: in entering college, a common complaint among students is being required to repeat what are considered to be remedial courses full of previously-acquired knowledge; and the cost of attending a school would decrease. If less classes must be registered for and completed, a student can write off perhaps five courses from the final bill, saving a good deal of money when the loans kick in after graduation. More time can be spent with courses in the student’s chosen major as well, as introductory courses can likely be skipped. Thus, interest level in the total program stands a chance to increase, and a student may actually enjoy college enough to see it to completion.

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