Many Middle Class College Students Failing to Earn a Degree on the First Try
We hear a lot about lower-income students failing to earn a college degree, but the same can be said for students from middle class families.
According to numbers from the U.S. Department of Education, of all the middle class students who went from high school to college in 2004, just 40 percent managed to secure a bachelor's degree by 2012.
"Middle class students drop out of college for the same reasons that a lot of other students do," said Nate Johnson of Postsecondary Analytics. "It's just that fewer of them drop out than students from lower-income backgrounds."
Johnson said one-third of middle class college dropouts cited financial issues. Many pointed to personal reasons or academic struggles.
Still, the bracket's graduation rate was significantly higher than the one-in-five rate of lower-income college entrants.
"A lot of them will eventually come back, which is why we have an increasing number of adults entering college," Johnson said.
Thomas Edison State College in Trenton is an example of an institution that primarily handles folks who failed to finish college the first time around.
"Just last year, fiscal 2014, about 80 percent of our newly-enrolled undergraduate students brought transfer credits with them, which indicates to us that they attended a college or university before coming here," said Joe Guzzardo, a spokesman for the college.
According to Guzzardo, the main reason TESC was founded in 1972 was to enable adults to complete a college degree that was started earlier in life.
"We maximize transfer credits," he said. "The credits that were earned earlier in life aren't going to be wasted."
The school also allows students to earn credits for college-level knowledge they acquired outside of the classroom.