- A new survey reveals that a large percentage of associate degree earners — more than 31% — take more than six years to complete a degree, while 37% of four-year college graduates finish in four years.
- The elapsed time of completion for most graduates was five years, but for for-profit students, the time increased to eight years of total time from initial enrollment to completion.
- Men and women have roughly the same timing outcomes in four-year institutions, but dramatically differ in two-year and for-profit settings, with both groups taking far more time to complete degrees.
The data tells an interesting story about the road to degree completion at a variety of schools, and the time and costs necessary to earn a degree. But it also poses an interesting question about the focus of higher education in the 21st century, particularly from the U.S. Department of Education.
If it takes students longer to complete a degree at a two-year institution, why is there such a rush for students to spend more time and accrue more loan debt at these school than at four-year institutions? Given the department's emphasis on community college, and the growing number of states following suit, it would appear that the numbers on completion, and possibly student debt, don't add up with the vision.