Graduation rates of part-time and delayed college students are significantly lower than first-time students who attend college directly out of high school.
The concept of college being a four-year experience at one location is changing rapidly and frequently, according to a new national study.
The National Student Clearinghouse reports that more than half of college students in the United States today either go to school part-time, transfer at least once or do not start immediately after high school. These students are much less likely to get their degrees in the normal four or five years for a bachelor’s or two years for an associates, the study states.
The value of college educations continues to be discussed nationally, but a Spectrem study on Millionaire investors with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million show that 89 percent have college degrees and 34 percent have advanced college degrees. Among Ultra High Net Worth investors with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million, 94 percent have college degrees and 45 percent have advanced college degrees.
But that research does not state whether those degrees were earned in what used to be considered regulation time. Today, there is no such thing as a normal college degree path.
According to the National Student Clearinghouse report, 77 percent of full-time students that entered college in 2008 earned their degree in six years. Among those who attended college part-time entirely, only 21 percent earned their degrees in six years.
In an interview with CNBC, a national student education official said Americans need to understand the changing atmosphere toward college education.
“It still amazes me, the degree to which the recognition of the massive demographic shift in the American student body is an unknown fact for most Americans,’’ said Robert Hansen, chief executive of the University Professional & Continuing Education Association. Hansen said his organization believes only 15 percent of college students today are full-time first-time students living on campus.
The other 85 percent are students juggling school, jobs and family, and trying to get enough credits from different institutions to get a degree.
The success rate of people who return to college after a break is low, according to research by InsideTrack. One-third of students who returned to college between 2005 and 2008 after taking some time off actually managed to graduate, while 54.1 percent of all first-time students get degrees.
According to the NSC report, six year completion rate for students entering college in 2008 was 55 percent. Students no longer enrolled and without a degree after six years was 30.3 percent for students who entered school in 2008. Completion rates for students who enter college immediately after high school were much higher than those that delay entry (ages 20 to 24, 38.3 percent) and adult students (over the age of 24, 42.1 percent).
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.