Why Does It Matter?
Higher education, whether it be college or other vocational training, directly corresponds to greater earning potential.
College completion rates can have a significant effect on a person’s future salary and earnings. For some professions, educational attainment levels correspond directly with a greater earning potential. Locally, people with a bachelor’s degree earn $18,000 more annually than those without a college degree.
The time it takes to finish a secondary education program also impacts whether students complete the program. Research shows that the more time students spend working on their degree, the less likely they are to graduate. Six years—or graduating within 150% time following high school—is a common benchmark used to measure college completion. Students who take longer than six years to earn a degree often drop out.
While there are many reasons why students may not compete their degree, research points to remedial coursework as a barrier. Students who enter college without high enough grades or low testing scores may be required to take remedial coursework. One study estimated that Bachelor’s level students who had to take a remedial course were 74% more likely to drop out. Further complicating matters, remedial coursework incurs tuition charges, but does not come with any earned college credit. This increases the total cost of higher education and the time it takes to earn a degree.