Sunday, December 28, 2008

50% College Dropout=Spectaular WASTE of Money


Which means that financially speaking, the spectacularly high dropout rate boils down to a spectacularly bad investment. Though there’s no specific data, one can imagine the countless millions that are wasted financing educations that never come to fruition. We could try to predict which students would be part of the 46% who don’t finish, then encourage those students not to go to college. But to do this would mean a lot of students who might graduate never get to give it a shot. That wouldn’t be fair. So what we can do instead is identify the 5% or 10% of students who are the least likely to graduate, and not send them to college.

The problem is, the current system provides no way, and no incentive, for doing that. In fact, the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) doesn’t take into account an applicant’s academic record at all. The rationale behind this is reasonable and admirable: we don't want federal student aid to be restricted only to the best and the brightest, many of whom come from backgrounds that made it easy for them to excel. But doesn't it make sense, on some level, to withhold aid from the students who have shown during high school that they’re clearly not equipped to make it through four years of college? Doing so would be a big step toward recouping some of that wasted 46% of lost financing.