Nineteen percent of higher education spending goes for students who fail to earn a certificate or degree from any institution, according to a report on student attrition by the Delta Cost Project at American Institutes for Research (AIR). Each 20 percent reduction in attrition will increase degree or certificate production by 6 percent, helping meet President Obama’s goal of increasing the number of young Americans who earn college degrees, the report finds.
One third of undergraduates leave college without a credential. Academic failure is not the primary cause: More than 40 percent have earned A’s and B’s. Only 15 percent of attrition costs was linked to dropouts with a C average or below.
The average cost per completed credential is $16,100 for a certificate, $33,900 for an associate degree and $53,800 for a bachelor’s degree.