A recent report by Education Reform Now questions the high cost of a college education vs. the low graduation rate.
The report, “Less for More: Low Rates of Completion and High Costs at Connecticut’s Four-Year Colleges” found that nearly half of the state’s 22 four-year colleges charged an “exceptionally high net price to students from the lowest income families.” It also found that 12 of the colleges “charged more than double the net price that a national peer institution charged to comparable low-income students.”
Using data from 2016 and 2017, it found that the University of Bridgeport and Danbury’s Western Connecticut State College (WCSU) and New London’s Mitchell College consistently graduated less than 50 percent of their first-time, full-time student populations during the first six years of enrollment.
The study looked at 22 of the state’s 27 public and private universities and compared them with similar institutions across the country, according to an article in elsol.com.
Colleges like Southern Connecticut State University, the University of Bridgeport and the University of Hartford, to name three examples, do a poor job of graduating various underrepresented marginalized populations relative to their respective national peer cohorts, according to the report.
When compared to 16 universities, Southern Connecticut State University ranked 12th with a Latino graduation rate of 35.1 percent. The University of Hartford also ranked 12th out of 16 among its peers with a Latino graduation rate of 41.4 percent. And the University of Bridgeport ranked 15 out of 16 among its peers with a Latino graduation rate of 26.3 percent.
The report also pointed out that Connecticut’s four-year colleges had average net prices for low-income students that were significantly higher than most of their peer institutions serving similar students. For example, it showed WCSU’s average net for low-income students being more than $14,000 per year, compared to Massachusetts’ Westfield State University which charged $2,707 less per year and had a higher graduation rate.
“The takeaway from this study is that too many Connecticut students are simply not set up for success. Connecticut can and should do better by its students,” Amy Dowell, state director of Education Reform Now Connecticut told westfaironline.com.
“This data shows that our institutions of higher education are sometimes leaving our most vulnerable students worse off than before they enrolled,” she said. “When we ask young people to take on debt without even earning the credentials that will allow for paying it off — that also has a compounding effect on our state economy.”