US drop-out rate hits high

July 19, 1996

Drop-out rates at United States colleges have reached a record high. The figures have increased as private universities have reached lower down the financial scale to recruit students.

In 1995 nearly per cent of US college freshmen failed to return for their second year, according to a report by American College Testing. The percentage of students graduating within five years has correspondingly dropped to an all-time low of 53.3 per cent.

High drop-out rates, once a problem associated mainly with secondary education, are now an inescapable fact of life in UShigher education. Many students are also taking longer to graduate.

The number of high-school graduates going on to college has broken through the 60 per cent mark, but financial pressures appear to be weeding out more after only a year or two. The fact that about half attend college but do not earn degrees is "not a wise use of resources," said the ACT's Kelley Hayden.

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