The Sorry State of Higher Education

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It’s dismaying how easy it is to screw up college.

I don’t know exactly when, why, or how it happened, but important things are breaking down in the US higher education system. Whether or not this system is in danger of collapsing it feels like it’s losing its way, and failing in its mission of developing the citizens and workers we need in the 21st century.

This mission clearly includes getting students to graduate, yet only a bit more than half of all US students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities complete their degrees within six years, and only 29% who start two year degrees finish them within three years. America is last in graduation rate among 18 countries assessed in 2010 by the OECD. Things used to be better; in the late 1960s, nearly half of all college students got done in four years.

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