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The Completion Crisis: What Students Have to Say

THE COMPLETION CRISIS: What Students Have to Say We've heard the stats: Only 4 in 10 young Americans earn a higher education credential by the time they are 35. We're in a completion crisis, but what do students have to say about what would help? Public Agenda spoke to our nation's young adults-both those who graduated (we call them completers) and those who either didn't attend or failed to complete (non-completers) about the value of higher education. the barriers they have faced, and what would help them overcome those barriers. REALITIES OF NON-COMPLETERS 7 in 10 3 in 10 don't know what have loans to 1111111 FAFSA is pay off only say their loans were a good investment; No one said they were an excellent investment only think it's very likely they'll be % financially secure think they need a higher degree than the one they have for their careers just over (27% 36% 50% in their lifetime TOP REASONS STUDENTS SAY THEY DIDN'T COMPLETE COLLEGE 71% I needed to work % and make money 41% I didn't have enough % time for my family 34% Some of the classes % were too difficult STUDENTS TELL US WHAT WOULD HELP IN OBTAINING A COLLEGE DEGREE Completers Non-Completers Cut the cost of attending by 25 percent Allow part-time students to qualify for financial aid Offer more courses in the Learn good study habits in high school to prepare for college evenings, on weekends or in the summer so people can work while attending school work Have more programs for hands-on learning, apprenticeships and non-classroom work 3 Cut the cost of attending by 25 percent 4 Allow part-time students to qualify for financial aid Have the government offer more college loans Offer more courses in the evenings, on weekends or in the summer so people can work while attending school Provide day care for students who need it STUDENT VOICES For many young adults, Community College is the only feasible pathway to the American Dream. Yet, according to the American Association of Community Colleges, less than half of community college students graduate or transfer within six years. We interviewed community college students, and here's what they said* would help on the pathway to completion. "Quotes edited for clarity. PROGRAMS WITH CLEARLY DEFINED PATHWAYS "I think it's really hard for people when there's no end in sight and there's no goal in mind to even continue to go, because you're just probably going to get really frustrated and want to drop out." CONNECTION TO CAREER COORDINATION & COMMUNICATION AMONG COLLEGE OFFICES "[You need] someone who actually has a connection to the real work experience. I mean, I knew what I should do, but I didn't know how to apply it to my college path." "If the information were easier to get to, and I knew sooner who to talk to. I might not have had to drop out and I might have been further along at this point. 65 ACCESSIBLE & TAILORED GUIDANCE "I think it all depends on if you have that one person, that one advisor who actually cares about their job and seeing somebody improve." "I paid for four classes that are not going to go toward my degree. That was kind of like, 'Oh, my god. What are these people doing?" SOURCES: "With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them," Public Agenda PUBLIC AGENDA "One Degree of Separation" Pubation Pathway." Public Agenda and WestEd Agenda "Student Voices on the Higher E All available at

The Completion Crisis: What Students Have to Say

shared by megandonovan on Jun 25
Here's what students who completed and those who were unable to complete their degrees say would help them achieve success in college. How can we incorporate their voices into a solution to the comple...


Public Agenda


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