|Why college students stop short of degrees|
|Written by Lauren Mytnik, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 10 April 2012 11:41|
According to a 2011 Harvard Graduate School of Education study on dropout rates among college students, only 56 percent of college students complete four-year degrees within six years.
Kristen Hendrickson, director of Planning, Research and Policy Analysis at ISU, explained instead of focusing on drop-out rates, ISU measures the six-year graduation rate.
“This rate for ISU has steadily climbed in the last 20 or so years, so a higher proportion of our new freshmen cohort is graduating in six years now than in the past,” Hendrickson added.
Although the six-year graduation rates are increasing, ISU still reports significantly higher graduation rates in general than other selective universities nationally.
Amelia Noel-Elkins, director of University College, explained a few contributing factors to the increasing six-year graduation rate.
“The reasons students leave Illinois State before they attain their degree have not changed much over the past several years. Consistently, the most common reasons surround a personal or family situation that impacts the student’s ability to remain in college,” Noel-Elkins said.
She added a few of these reasons include finances, unexpected family changes, or health issues.
Jana Albrecht, director of financial aid, added explanations on how ISU can help students who come across these issues.
“The financial aid office can help with some of the more common hardships that students face like parent unemployment, death of a family member, and extreme medical expenses,” Albrecht added.
The financial aid office has not seen a significant increase in the number of students reporting these problems. However, the office is available for help if these problems do arise.
When a student leaves ISU, it impacts others on campus, as well as themselves.
“A friend leaving school can change your social or academic circle, particularly if this is someone to whom you were particularly close,” Noel-Elkins said.
Noel-Elkins said speaking to an academic adviser, a staff member at Student Counseling Services, or a financial aid counselor can help a student make up their mind on what is best for them.
“For any student considering leaving Illinois State, whether by choice or necessity, the best piece of advice I can give is to keep your avenues open to return to ISU … that way, when your life’s circumstances make it possible to return to college, the road back is a lot easier,” she said.