Don’t Forget to Look at Graduation Rates

MarketWatch: “Too few students … realize the importance of high graduation rates as a factor in selecting a college. Having a high graduation rate is an indication that an institution has supports in place to help students succeed. Support can mean anything from having sufficient financial aid and scholarships to ensure students can afford to finish their degree to offering enough sections of required courses so that students aren’t shut out of classes they need to graduate. Sometimes it means they have robust academic advising and mentorship programs, or provide housing and transportation options, or child care. Often, it’s a combination of these things and more.”

“Students who enroll in schools with lower graduation rates have often opted out of applying to institutions with higher rates of student success and miss out on these support systems. Many assume the most selective institutions are not an option because of the sticker price. Others don’t think to compare graduation rates when looking into colleges or universities with higher acceptance rates.”

“There have been attempts to make information like graduation rates more readily available to students by the federal government, including College Navigator and the Obama administration’s College ScoreCard, which was just expanded to include, among other things, more transparency around graduation rates … It’s this kind of data that can empower students to select institutions that have the best track record for ensuring that students receive a college degree with limited debt.”