Chart of the Week: Middle Class Going to College—but Not Graduating

Education Statistics

Kids whose parents earn between $46,000 and $99,000 per year are not always graduating college, even within eight years. According to a recent study performed by the U.S. Department of Education, only 40% of middle-class college entrants who were high school seniors in 2004 had earned bachelor’s degrees by 2012. About a third of the middle class students that dropped out of college did so because of financial considerations, which was a similar dynamic experienced by those of other income groups.

In general, graduation rates were highest at colleges with the lowest admissions acceptance rates (they were more selective). For example, four-year institutions with open admissions policies graduated only 33% of students within six years (2006-2012); conversely, four-year colleges with admission rates of less than 25% graduated 86% of students within that same time period.

Summary

  • Middle class kids are having difficulty graduating college within eight years.
  • 40% of middle-class college entrants who were high school seniors back in 2004 had earned bachelor’s degrees by 2012.
  • About a third of students that dropped out of college did so because of financial considerations.
  • Graduation rates were highest at colleges with the lowest admissions acceptance rates and lowest with open admissions policies.

Financial planning can be helpful in preparing for the cost of attending and graduating college: Individual Investors | U.S. Investment Professionals

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The opinions expressed are those of our investment professionals, and are no guarantee of the future performance of any American Century Investments® portfolio. This information is not intended to serve as investment advice; it is for educational purposes only.