High school drop-outs in college

Students who’ve left high school without a diploma or GED are enrolling in college, reports the New York Times. Non-graduates make up “2 percent of all college students, 3 percent at community colleges and 4 percent at commercial, or profit-making, colleges, according to a survey by the United States Education Department in 2003-4.”

Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y., with 12,000 students, is one of the many SUNY campuses that welcome students without high school diplomas. Last fall, nearly 3 percent of the entering class lacked these credentials, double the 1.5 percent two years earlier. The admissions director, Mary Claire Bauer, said the college tried to help the students with counseling and other programs.

“We give everyone the opportunity to come to college,” Ms. Bauer said. Still, she added, “The success rates are only so-so.”

With the extra assistance, 37 percent of the group that entered in fall 2004 returned a year later, compared with 57 percent for the whole class.

California community colleges will take anybody with a pulse, but students have to pass a test or pass remedial classes to get into academic classes. Students in the 10 percent of the class of ’06 that hasn’t yet passed the graduation exam may go on to community college rather than spending another year in high school, but odds are they’ll have to take remedial reading and math classes.

About Joanne


  1. Wayne Martin says:

    > California community colleges will take
    > anybody with a pulse ..

    That might not be a problem, on the face of it. However, the taxpayers are subsidizing the cost of education for these students. A few years ago the legislature raised the cost of tuition to be fairly close to the cost of providing educational services in the CCs. The Deans of the “institutions” went catatonic and effectively lobbied the legislature to restore the rather healthy subsidies. They argued: “if the students have to pay what it costs to educate them, they won’t pay and the CCs will begin to lose students.”

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    All public education above High School should be paid for with a surcharge on future income tax or with civic or military service.

  3. Prof210 says:

    Here’s a link:


    Please note especially Figure 2. It appears that the cost of community college (not just student tuition) is significantly lower than the cost of high school on an annual basis per student.

    Thus, it seems to make more sense for the state to pay to subsidize community college, including remedial work, than to keep the students in high school.