College Enrollment Surges But Will College Completion?

June 17th, 2010

  First the good news: The nation’s colleges are attracting record numbers of new students as more Hispanics finish high school and young adults opt to pursue a higher education rather than languish in a weak job market. A Pew Research Center study highlights the growing diversity in higher education amid debate over the role of race in college admissions. Newly released government figures show that freshman enrollment surged 6% in 2008 to a record 2.6 million, mostly due to rising minority enrollment.

 But the new enrollment is heavily weighted towards students who do not have a high probability of college completion such as low income, part time students who are Latino. Moreover, community colleges absorb the brunt of the new students, and they are experiencing significant financial cuts in most states. Consequently, college progress and completion strategies need to be increased by reallocating existing college resources.