Does the 'five-year plan' hurt economic outcomes?
- Students who take longer than four years to graduate diminish their earning potential in salary and retirement benefits, according to a recent NerdWallet analysis.
- A recent study indicates two additional years of college increases debt while reducing earnings, which can cost students in excess of $100,000 in lifetime earnings.
- Extending one's college experience at a private school by two years could cost $300,000 in additional tuition dollars, increased debt, compounded retirement savings, missed income, the site found.
Most colleges and universities are seeking ways to eliminate direct costs and associated expenses with college, while also providing increased value to students seeking a comprehensive education with job experience that makes them more attractive to potential employers. As some schools are moving to encourage students to take longer to graduate so they can take full advantage of internships and study abroad opportunities, the possible long-term economic impact of these decisions should be considered.
However, for students who may have to work to support themselves or their families, there are very few policies schools can implement to encourage students to take jobs which afford greater flexibility for class and study, or which can reduce obligations to family — the common factors in extended education time for students.
What universities can do is revamp student remedial placement to eliminate courses which do not give required credit hours, reduce the number of credit hours required for specialized or professional degree programs, and offer more articulation agreements with regional high schools to promote earned college credit prior to enrollment in a state institution.
- The New York Times 'Five-year plan' in college could cut income and retirement