Recent studies show overall that colleges with the lowest price tags also have the lowest four-year graduation rates. Schools that top the list for four-year graduates also top the list for cost, competition, and prestige. The most successful graduation ratio belongs to Harvard, where 97% of students who enroll graduate on time. Comparatively, schools that are easier to get into—and easier to pay for—more often than not round out the bottom of the graduate list with fewer than 60% of freshmen who graduate in four years.
These percentages, however, may not reflect consideration of certain variables. For example, a student who enters one four-year institution but transfers to and graduates from another, all within four years, may not be counted at either school in the “four-year graduation rate” statistic.
Why Are Graduation Rates Relative to Tuition Costs?
There are many possible reasons behind the relationship between tuition costs and graduation rates. Some researchers believe the students who are drawn to less expensive schools may come from lower-income families and lack the support system wealthier students enjoy. Schools with lower tuition rates may have larger class sizes or fewer student resources because they are not funded as well. Regardless of the underlying causes, less expensive schools generally continue to produce fewer graduates.
Extended Schooling May Cost More in the Long Run
Many low-cost colleges produce graduates at a slower pace than their high-priced cousins. California State University, Los Angeles, which is relatively inexpensive, has a 34% graduation rate for students who are able to complete their programs over a period of six years. The same school graduates only 8.8% of its students within the traditional four-year time frame.
Spending an extra two years to earn your degree can cost more in time and money than attending a more expensive school for four years. Graduating after four years, rather than six, gives you a chance to begin your career sooner and/or pursue a graduate degree sooner, saving yourself much extra expense.
Competitive Colleges Show Better Graduation Ratios
There is also something to be said for the competitive spirit required for acceptance to some of the more expensive and prestigious institutions. Harvard, Princeton, and Yale are three of the toughest schools to get into in the United States.They also have some of the best graduate ratios. Students who want to attend have to work diligently to earn the opportunity to enroll. This extra effort could be part of the reason these students stick it out and graduate on time. Students who don’t have to work as hard for acceptance to a lower-priced school might not feel the same motivation to succeed.
School Size Makes a Difference
It’s important to note that not all low-cost colleges have low graduation ratios. Smaller schools that offer more individual attention to students show some respectable numbers when you compare their costs to their graduation rates. For example, Arkansas Baptist College enrolls 600 students on average each year. This small school maintains a 100% graduation ratio, even though it is relatively inexpensive compared to most of the schools with high graduation ratios.
This article comes from Technology-Colleges.info, a site that helps technology students find the right schools where students can graduate and go on to secure information security careers.