Is Obama a college graduate?

The U.S. has dropped from first to 11th in college completion, according to the OECD. But transfers don’t count as college graduates in U.S. statistics, reports Mike Kirst on The College Puzzle. President Obama, who earned a Columbia degree, wouldn’t be considered a college graduate in the OECD tables because he started at Occidental College and transferred. International comparisons aren’t valid or useful unless data is reported consistently.

Increasingly, U.S. students “swirl” through several colleges before completing a degree. Or not. Kirst writes:

We have major problems with completion, but so do other countries. Our completion rate for associates and  two-year technical degrees is the major cause of low international rankings.

For the record, I believe Barack Obama is a college graduate. And a Christian. Born in Hawaii.

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  1. Transfers aren’t college graduates? Even if they only take 4 years to earn their degrees?

    Guess my mom would count as one of those “non-graduates”. She wanted to attend UC Berkeley but couldn’t get in applying as an Ohio resident. So she went to UC Riverside for a year & then used her good grades there to transfer in to the flagship.

    A student who starts at one college and graduates from a different one 4 years later is not a failure.

  2. Deirdre Mundy says:

    I’m pretty sure that’s why PNC made the ‘drop out factory’ list below.

    A lot of local kids go there for their first 2 years, live at home, and take their general ed requirements on the cheap. That way their only costs are (cheap) tuition and gas.

    Then they transfer to ‘Big Purdue’ for their last 2 years, and get a degree from the more prestegious campus.

  3. So, let me get this straight: for years, the advice to many students wanting to go to some of the big-name expensive schools has been: take your first years at a smaller school or community college where you know the credits will transfer, get the gen ed courses done with, and then transfer to Big Name School to work in your major.

    And now, someone is coming out with a WAGD! report saying “Fewer students than ever are graduating” but fails to make it clear that they are talking about “graduating after four years at the same school.” And so now, a lot of schools are going to be ripped in the press and publicly shamed for being “drop out factories” when in fact they are not.

  4. Got to agree to that!
    A student must check the credits to know if it is transferable.