Understanding High College Attrition Rates in the United States


Griffith University pic
Griffith University
Image: Griffith.edu

An experienced project manager, Joel Salmon has managed elements of technology for multiple business units at Delos, LLC. Now involved in the higher education space, Joel Salmon helps universities reduce student attrition rates.

The United States has relatively high college dropout rates. According to a 2014 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the overall retention rate for full-time students at US universities stood at 74.4 percent. The institutions with the highest four-year retention rates were private not-for-profit universities with 81.6 percent, while those with the lowest rates were four-year for-profit universities with 55 percent.

A more recent article by The New York Times, however, painted an even gloomier picture. The paper reported that less than 50 percent of all students in the country graduated in four years. With two more years added, graduation rates only increased to 60 percent. This means many students are leaving college in debt but with no degree.

Griffith University conducted a study to identify the lead causes of attrition. The study revealed that the most common reason was personal difficulties. These related to health, finances, work, and family. Other causes listed were academic difficulties and dissatisfaction with the program or university chosen. The issue of part-time students also cropped up. Survey data showed only 44.8 percent of part-time students graduate in eight years.


A Brief Look at Tech Trends in Higher Education


Joel Salmon
Joel Salmon

Based in the New York City area, Joel Salmon works as a data analyst with a focus on higher education. In addition to admissions and enrollment, Joel Salmon maintains an interest in higher education technology trends.

Like many other areas of society, technology has begun to transform the higher education landscape. Academic institutions across the country have implemented innovative tech-based solutions for bolstering student learning and enhancing the overall school experience. More colleges and universities are relying on digital course materials and assignments and even exploring the use of virtual and augmented reality to promote immersive learning.

Some emergent tech trends to watch for in higher education include the expansion of mobile tools and Internet-of-things (IoT) technologies on college campuses. Schools are also increasing their reliance on using data to drive decision-making related to student enrollment, retention, and success. Additionally, in the age of big data, higher ed institutions are adopting innovative solutions to protect the variety of student information they collect and retain.