Of 100 ninth-graders, only 18 will go on to college and complete a degree in six years, a new study reports.
“Colleges have to take seriously the responsibility for graduating the kids they admit,” says Thomas Mortenson, an analyst with the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. “And if they don’t, maybe they ought to pick up the student loan burden of the people who don’t finish.”
College costs, which are rising much faster than inflation, and poor preparation are to blame, says the report. Some states are trying to motivate students to start preparing early for college.
Indiana is striking a bargain with its poor and lower-middle-class eighth graders: Maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average through high school, stay out of drugs and alcohol, and take the right set of classes, and we’ll pay your in-state college tuition.
I like the idea of getting students focused on college prep in middle school, but a C average isn’t very high in these days of grade inflation. Indiana is just now studying whether the program is affecting college completion rates.