Dropping Out, Paying for Completion

Two blog posts I read almost back to back scared me just a bit.

Community College Spotlight says “Dropouts Cost Billions.”

Billions of tax dollars are wasted on college drop-outs who never make it to their second year, concludes an American Institutes for Research study which looked at four-year college students who don’t make it to their second year. The bill for first-year drop-outs came to $9.1 billion in federal, state and local funds from 2003-08.

Confessions of a Community College Dean received a question on Payment Upon Completion.”

We, the faculty, have just been notified by our president that the Texas Legislature… is poised to institute a completion-based funding system for higher ed throughout the state. Instead of funding us based on enrollments as of the 12th class day, as it does now, it will use a step system based on completion rates: so much money for students with 15 credit hours, so much more for 30 hours, so much more for graduates, etc. They will probably begin by making 10% of our funding dependent on this measure, but with the expectation of phasing it in gradually until it reaches 100%.

So if students are dropping out and the legislature starts only paying for completion, how many open-access colleges do you think will survive?

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.

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