Study Finds Student Attrition Costing Colleges Millions
A recent study by the Educational Policy Institute (EPI) examined data from more than 1,600 private, public and for-profit four-year institutions. Based on factors such as average tuition, attrition rate, and average time to graduation, EPI then calculated the dollar value of those students initially enrolled in the school who leave at some point before graduating.
According to the study, the average public institution loses $13.3 million dollars annually due to student attrition, the average private college loses $8.3 million and for-profit institutions lost $7.9 million. The single largest loss in the 2010-11 school year was $102.5 million, and the cost to the higher education sector that year was calculated at $16.5 billion.
It is interesting to note that of the 43 schools that graduate 90 percent and more of an entering class, only three are public institutions: University of Virginia; University of California – Los Angeles; and The College of William and Mary. The other 40 are all private schools.
Of the top 43 institutions with an average six-year graduation rate higher than 90 percent, most are “name brand schools” except for two small unbranded private colleges: Apex School of Theology (NC) and Sinte Gleska University (SD), a tribal college.
Of the 43 lowest graduation schools, all with a graduation rate less than 11 percent, 20 are private schools, 16 for-profit, and 7 public institutions. One is a theologically oriented school and one a tribal college.
Click here to download the study synopsis, including a college-by-college analysis of attrition loss.