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Why do Students Drop Out of College?

written by: ccrzadkiewicz•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 2/8/2012

Why do so many students drop out before finishing or earning a degree? Although there are several factors that contribute to the percentage of college dropouts, two major studies have revealed the main reason students drop out of college.(false dichotomy)

* Although there are exceptions, most students begin college with every intention of graduating, but the percent of first year college dropouts is alarmingly high. (weak analogy) In fact, approximately 35 percent of students who enter college will drop out during the first year. Moreover, according to a 2005 report issued by The Education Trust, a Washington-based nonprofit group, only 63 percent of students who enroll in a four-year university will earn a degree, and it will take them an average of six years to do so(appeal to authority). The other 37 percent will either drop out of college before finishing or else flunk out of their programs of study. (USA Today).

More recently, however, Mary Beth Marklein, writing for USA Today, reports that nationally, four-year colleges graduated an average of only 53-percent of entering students within six years, and graduation rates of less than 30-percent are often the case, according to a report by the American Enterprise Institute, “a conservative think tank” (2011).(appeal to authority)

Marklein provides some examples from the study, in which schools were grouped by categories in Barron's Profiles of American Colleges:

* Among schools requiring only a high school diploma for admission, Walla Walla University and Heritage University, both in Washington state, reported graduation rates of 53-percent and 17-percent respectively.

* Among colleges requiring high-school GPAs of B-minus or better, John Carroll University in Cleveland and Chicago State University in Illinois graduated 74-percent versus 16-percent, respectively.

* In...