AACC: Grad rates aren’t that bad

Community colleges are working to improve graduation rates and don’t need any help from the American Enterprise Institute, writes the American Association of Community Colleges in response to an AEI report on the high cost of low graduation rates.  “The so-called analysis is a pseudo-academic attack on community colleges,” writes the AACC in a statement.

AEI looks at three-year graduation rates (22.1 percent), instead of  “more accurate” four-year rates (27.6 percent), AACC writes. And many students who leave college are “stop-outs” rather than drop-outs.  “Federal data indicate that 62 percent of those who leave a community college in the first year re-enroll at an institution of higher education within the next five years.”

The report assumes that those who leave a community college earn the same as high school diploma holders, rather than those who have “some college.” By definition, students who start and leave a community college have attained “some college.” In 2011, median weekly earnings for high school graduates were $638 as compared to $719 for those with “some college.” The unemployment rate was also 0.7% lower for those with “some college.”

In addition, the AEI report “dramatically understates” community college transfers and their success rates, AACC charges.