College completion rates low among charter grads

Dive Brief:

  • Charter schools, especially those serving low-income students, often see few of their students complete college degrees within six years of graduation.
  • Only 22% of students at one charter network in Los Angeles, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, complete four-year degrees, despite the school network's claim that nearly all of its students are college ready.
  • Some charters are reexamining their curriculum in light of these sobering statistics to focus more on providing students with skills for succeeding in college instead of simply getting students accepted into programs, according to USA Today.

Dive Insight:

The Trump administration's education goals look set to put more emphasis on providing students with more access to school choice, including charter schools, although even charter school proponents queried by USA Today say that simply giving students more choices are not likely to improve college completion rates. Students from low-income backgrounds often feel overwhelmed by the academic rigor in higher education or drop out because of financial concerns or difficulty adjusting.

Overall college completion rates hover around 57%, though the rates vary by state. Student demographics also play a role, with low-income and minority students less likely to complete degrees. While increased emphasis on college readiness and coping skills is an important part of the equation for getting more students to graduate, in order to see real gains, colleges themselves will need to work more closely with at-risk students to keep them enrolled.

Filed Under: K12
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