University Business - September 2011 - (Page 6)

E D I TO R ’ S N OT E Counting Chickens Before They Hatch A S ANOTHER SCHOOL SEMESTER BEGINS, administrators will be confronted with a segment of their student population that does not go on to graduate. Attrition is nothing new, of course. It happens every year, as students begin their college careers in earnest, but find, for one reason or another, that they can’t continue. Perhaps the student has financial difficulties or is simply not prepared academically or emotionally for the rigors of college. Whatever the cause, it is something that college and university leaders have learned to expect, and they build it into their enrollment and revenue projections. In recent years, however, the numbers have grown. More students are enrolling in college but, at the same time, more are not Numerous studies have shown that people with college educagraduating. A new report by American Institutes for Research tion have greater earning potential—84 percent more over a lifeshows the impact that these non-graduating students have had on local and regional economies. “The High Cost of Low Gradua- time, according to Georgetown University research—than those tion Rates: Taxpayers Lose Millions” is an eye-opening report that with only a high school diploma. Consequently, there are greater comes at a time when states are grappling with huge budget cuts efforts to get more students into college, including President Obama’s objective of increasing the number and declining revenue. of Americans with college degrees from 40 The AIR study looked at more than More students are percent to 60 percent by 2020. It’s a noble 1.1 million full-time students who entered goal, but with shrinking aid and a soft job college in 2002 seeking bachelor’s degrees. enrolling in college but, market, this may potentially result in even Of that group, an astounding 500,000 did at the same time, more more dropouts—far beyond the forecast in not graduate within six years. Coauthors a college’s enrollment report. Mark Schneider and Lu (Michelle) Yin esare not graduating. “Students who start college and don’t timate that those numbers result in a comgraduate incur large personal expenses. bined $4.5 billion in lost income and lost They have paid tuition, they have taken out loans, they have federal and state income taxes. The AIR analysis found that the 493,000 students who started changed their lives, and they have failed in one of the biggest goals college in 2002 but did not earn a degree lost a total of approxi- they have ever set for themselves,” Schneider said. “Taxpayers have mately $3.8 billion in income in 2010 alone. The lost income paid billions of dollars in subsidies to support these students as they would have generated $566 million in federal income tax revenue, pursue degrees they will never earn, and as a nation, we incur bilwhile states would have collected more than $164 million in state lions in lost earnings and lost income taxes each year.” Why they drop out is a discussion for another time. But educaincome taxes. tion and government leaders must come to grips with the fact that “These findings represent just one year and one graduating class. Therefore, the overall costs of low graduation rates are much the current model is unsustainable. What’s your opinion? higher since these losses accumulate year after year,” Schneider said in a conference call in August. “While this report focuses on only one cohort of students, losses of this magnitude are incurred annuWrite to Tim Goral at ally by each and every graduating class.” Western Washington University processes e-forms in under a day. You could be a Model of Efficiency too! See page 51. 6 | September 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - September 2011

University Business - September 2011
Editor's Note
College Index
Ad Index
Behind the News
Financial Aid
Money Matters
Internet Technology
Shared Governance
Acknowledging Achievement
Looking Back
Spotlight on Procurement
EduComm 2011
End Note

University Business - September 2011