11 worst public university grad rates

The 4-year degree isn't what it used to be -- for many, it takes 6 years to earn a bachelor's degree. And for the university with the lowest graduation rate, only 1 in 25 manages to do that.

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Jun 11, 2012 6:21AM

As a secondary teacher for 40 years, I know that many very intelligent students don't succeed in "academics" yet would be brilliant doing something concrete.  We are sending kids to college who have no business being there.  You can attempt to prepare everyone for college as Race to the Top professes to do, but many students just need to learn by doing not by studying.  We are making kids feel like failures by asking them to do that for which they really are not suited. We don't need more kids in college, we need more options for kids after high school.


People who scream for school reform should understand that the government has been "reforming" schools for quite some time now with the result of dumbing them down. I am forced to do so much less academically in my classes that I did 30 years ago.

Jun 7, 2012 11:18AM
The schools on the list are predominately minority, and a lot of teenage kids think they should attend college, and realize that college is not the experience they thought or wanted it to be.  College is not the answer for all kids, but high schools, the media, and parents push too many kids that way, when technical school, or other job training programs would be much more suitable.
Jun 11, 2012 10:20AM
Too bad you skewed your own data by including transfers because the only reason to attend most of these colleges is to prove yourself to be able to transfer to a more prestigious one. If you really wanted to figure out the impact of those colleges you would have tracked those transfers to find out if they ended up graduating
Jun 11, 2012 8:27AM
This is a completely ridiculous article with flawed stats. It says right on the first page that they are including as dropouts anyone who transfers to another college/university, and the only schools they are including in their list are state colleges. Hello!- there are many, many students who do a year or two at a local state college/university due to cost, location, etc, and then transfer to another more desirable college/university to complete their degree. These students should certainly not be counted as dropouts if they are simply graduating from another school.

I don't get it. Got married at 21 and bought a house under the GI bill.  Went to school for 3 hours at night and finished college courses while fathering three children and working eight hours a day and still got 8 hours sleep at night. That left 5 hours to fool around.

Get real American 'brats' and get off your fat ****.


Jun 7, 2012 11:19AM
Students represent a gold mine for these institutions. Making students take courses that are unnecessary for their degree is a strategy used to extract more money from them. Those course are sometimes traps where the students lose valuable GPA points or precious time...Or finally the students lose their patience and drop the whole thing, but leaving one thing standing:  their student loans.
Jun 20, 2012 5:11PM
We need to get rid of this idiotic attitude that everybody needs and/or deserves to go to college.  Half the "students" in colleges today have no business being there at all..., and half the "colleges" in the country don't deserve the title.  Education cannot replace a good work ethic, and that's what we are sadly lacking.
Jun 11, 2012 9:24AM
Let's see, I attended a 2 yr community college, enlisted in the military (VietNam), attended part time and night school in Texas and Alaska, got out, went back to full time, but didn't finish, worked 4 years, attending night school, went back full time got my degree (in Math with a CS minor), continued picking up additional classes, then went back and got my MBA.  My son went to college, dropped out to enlist (1st Gulf War), got out worked for 8 years, went back and got his BS, my daughter got a small scholarship, gave it deciding she didn't like the school, transferred and finished her BS and is back to get a degree in Pharamcy.  My wife attended community college, dropped out, returned late in life and got a BS.  So, all total, the 4 of us dropped out of over 10 institutions according to this article but we have 5 degrees, mostly paid for by ourselves. Skewed stats and bad reporting if I ever saw any.
Jun 18, 2012 4:56PM
When I got out of high school I was told go get a job, no college for you. No car so I walked down to the local car wash and got a job as a washer. One way to go - up. Spent over two generations in high tech and had college grads working for me. No degree but had licenses & certifications by the pound. Hard work is worth something still today. Do it right the first time is still good. A peace of paper and a know it all attitude still will not take you far today. Your intelligence is the sum total of your daily decisions. Figure it out on your own with a positive outlook.
Jun 18, 2012 3:44AM
One big problem with some college degrees is that they are worthless. Universities should not even have specialty undergraduate degrees. I was a principal of a small private school a few years back and would get applicants wanting to be English, or History teachers with degrees like cross-cultural education. I wanted an English major. had a very hard time finding one, and once i did find one if i did not snap him or her up they would be hired within a week by someone else. Another worthless degree used to be black studies. with that and a dollar you could buy a cup of coffee. A lot of black students wised up at my school and if they still wanted to get a degree in black studies, they minored in engineering - very smart.

The universities exist to make money, so if they think there is a demand for socio-economic minority studies, or advanced scientific puppetiering they will offer them. Specialty degrees should be left to graduate schools and not used to sucker in dreamy wide-eyed students just out of high school.

That money grabbing attitude by universities is why many graduates have only  a "few skills" along with a big debt.

Jun 11, 2012 1:05PM
College really isn't that hard. Just like high school 80% of it is showing up. Most kids flunk out because they've never had that kind of freedom before (freedom to go to class, freedom to drink, freedom to stay out as late at you want) and they haven't yet developed the responsibility.
Jun 11, 2012 8:17AM
The article and the comments are uninformed.

Many of these institutions are branch campus operations where a substantial number of folks enter without any intention of graduating.

Some of them are enrolling for adult education and others are planning on doing the first couple of years "on the cheap" before transferring to another campus.

I don't know what point this article is attempting to make, but the statistics are seriously misleading.
Jun 11, 2012 1:41PM

The problem is over half the courses needed to graduate,

are just general study courses that fatten up the tuition bill.

what would a cut down version cost?

Jun 16, 2012 10:43AM

It is surprising that Harvard put out such a misleading report that appears to be very flawed.  Some of these schools are feeder schools; therefore, they have a very high transfer rate.  To classify transferred students as dropouts completely distorts the results.  I would expect better from Harvard.

Jun 11, 2012 1:54PM
As soon as the article said 'transfers count as dropouts', the numbers become meaningless. Absolutely worthless.  Transfers should, at worst, be EXCLUDED from the data; preferably, they should be listed as an adjunct figure (%graduate in 6 or fewer years, %transfer, %other).
Jun 18, 2012 9:37AM

Some of the stats in this article are bogus.


"college dropouts cost the nation $4.5 billion in lost earnings and taxes".


Aren't we counting our chickens before they hatch? How do you count something that you don't have?....Sounds like federal government accounting 101.

Jun 18, 2012 10:06AM
most companies hire only the cream of the crop in college grads,where are the rest to go,it's anybodys guess,but many take jobs that have little to do with thier college degree and have to work those jobs thru their entire careers,there really should be more emphasis on trade schools in this country.
Jun 11, 2012 2:34PM
Another sad reality is that many students likely would be better off with a trade skill instead of a college education.  At most suburban schools the % of kids going to some sort of college is 90-100%.  The reality is that 20-40% of these kids would likely be far better off financially to enroll in a trade school from where they will more likely be employable at the end, rather than graduating with $50-75K or more in debt with a 2.7 GPA and little chance to get a career in their chosen major anyway.
Jun 11, 2012 8:32AM

It took me 8-1/2 years to finish college, because I was working full-time and attending classes part time. I'm proud to say that I DID graduate finally!


Jun 16, 2012 6:36AM
I know college students that use the word  "ax" instead of "ask" How stupid can you be? and they're in college
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