A Bit of College Can Be Worse Than None at All

Career College Central Summary:

  • Americans have flocked to colleges in unprecedented numbers in the last half-decade, fueled by a conviction that postsecondary education is the surest route to steady employment and higher salaries.
  • Yet those who begin, but don’t complete, a degree are learning the hard way that the payoff is in finishing—or that they might have been better off not attending college at all.
  • The number of students who don’t complete college is growing. Nearly one-third of students who started college in 2012 didn’t return to a U.S. school the following year, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
  • And a new report out from a group of higher-education organizations found that roughly two-thirds of students who return to school after interrupted courses of study still don’t graduate.
  • Those students may find themselves doubly damned: cut out of consideration for professional-track jobs, and starting their careers years behind their peers who entered the workforce with just high-school diplomas.
  • Many have student loans to boot.
  • And both groups struggle to cobble together a living in their 20s. College dropouts have a lower unemployment rate than those with no college credits—12.1% versus 15.5%, respectively, for 20- to 29-year-olds—but they work almost exactly the same number of hours a week and weeks a year, according to a Drexel University Center for Labor Markets and Policy analysis of Current Population Survey data.

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