Understanding Why Students Leave College

January 23, 2020

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Title: Some College and No Degree: How Individuals Who Attend and Don’t Graduate Feel About Education

Date: December 2019

Source: Strada Education Network

Authors: Strada Education Network

A recent report by Strada Education Network examines why people leave college and how to encourage these former students to re-enroll. The report surveyed 42,190 adults ages 25 to 64 with some college but no degree who were not currently enrolled in postsecondary education.

The findings include:

  • The majority of individuals who left college without completing were White, but Black and Hispanic students were more likely to halt their education than White students.
  • The major challenge preventing these students from completing their education was balancing work and school.
  • Across institution types, adults who left college without completing their degree reported that their academic and career advising was poor or fair, while college graduates were more likely to report their career and academic advising as good or excellent.
  • Adults with some college but no degree reported that if they did re-enroll, they were likely to enroll in courses or training that were offered by employers and then community colleges.
  • The biggest factors that may increase re-enrollment included: free community college tuition, courses and training that fit their schedule, and a guaranteed employment outcome, such as a job placement or wage increase.

The report included recommendations for policymakers and education providers to 1) provide a flexible learning environment so these adults can balance work and school at the same time; 2) offer proactive academic and advising programs; 3) make higher education affordable to everyone.

To read the full report please click here.

–Haelim Chun

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