College dropouts cite high costs

The U.S. has the highest college dropout rate in the industrialized world, reports Reuters. Many U.S. high school graduates start college, but only 46 percent complete a degree, according to the OECD.  By contrast, 89 percent of Japanese who start college earn a credential.

Dropouts blame poor academic preparation, “inability to cope with the competing demands of study, family and jobs” and high college costs, according to  a Harvard report.

. . . “For many young adults, the ultimate bottom line is whether the degree or credential they earn will help them secure a job,” according to a 2011 Pew Research Center report, “Is College Worth It?”

. . . Financial barriers play a key role in students’ decisions to drop out of college, the Pew study finds. Among adults age 18-34 who lack a bachelor’s degree, two-thirds halted their education to support a family, 57 percent preferred to work and make money; and 48 percent simply couldn’t afford college.

Students can earn a college degree at a reasonable cost, if they complete their first years at a community college, says Eleanor Blayney with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.