That higher education is central to future economic progress is beyond dispute, but a decade of Measuring Up reports paints a worrisome picture about how well this vital sector is performing: participation in higher education remains flat at best, affordability has declined sharply, and graduation rates continue to be a disgrace.
This infographic will show you just how bad America is doing in all aspects of higher learning, as well as comparisons with other countries. Each state has been given a report card so brace yourself and get ready for the teacher’s red pen!
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Life isn’t easy for U.S. colleges these days. According to the latest Measuring Up reports, the number of students attending U.S. colleges is flat, at best. At the same time, college has become unaffordable to a growing number of U.S. students. Graduation rates are bad, too.
It’s all a bit depressing. But it’s important for people to understand the pressures that the U.S. college system is now experiencing. Before people can address the problems facing U.S. colleges, they have to understand them.
The Measuring Up report studies four key areas of the college experience. In all four areas, the report found, U.S. colleges are lacking.
The report, for instance, studies how well high schools are preparing their students to both enroll in college and succeed once they get there. Unfortunately, most states earn low Cs in this category. High schools simply aren’t doing enough to prepare students for the rigors of college, whether it’s learning how to eat healthy when on their own for the first time or develop the study habits they’ll need to earn solid grades.
Most states rank poorly, too, when it comes to the number of their young residents who have the opportunity to attend colleges or universities. In too many states, a growing number of young people feel that they don’t have access to education or training beyond the high-school level. There are many reasons for this: Many students can’t afford college and don’t understand the intricacies of financial aid. Others struggle through their high school years and never encounter teachers or administrators who push them to do better. Others face pressures at home or are stuck in unstable family environments. All of this makes college seem like an unattainable goal.
Many states would earn Cs or lower, too, when it comes to completion. Not enough of their students earn degrees or certifications. Again, the reasons for this are many.
Finally, when it comes to affordability, every state in the country gets a failing grade except for California. And California only earns a C-, hardly a grade about which to brag.
It’s no surprise, but college is too expensive for many potential students. Even with financial aid opportunities, these students can’t see a way to pay for a traditional four-year degree. The truly depressing news is that this problem is getting worse by the year. There are no signs that college tuition is going to do anything but rise in the future.
How does the United States compare with other countries when it comes to the number of young adults enrolled in colleges or universities? It depends at which country you look.
In the United States, about 34 percent of young adults from the ages of 18 to 24 are enrolled in higher education. That compares favorably to Canada, where 30 percent of these young adults are enrolled; the United Kingdom, with 30 percent enrolled; Germany, 25 percent; Mexico, 14 percent; Switzerland, 19 percent; and Australia, 31 percent.
The United States, though, lags Korea, where 53 percent of people from the ages of 18 to 24 are enrolled in higher education; and Greece, where 50 percent of the same age group is enrolled.
In the United States, 18 of every 100 students enrolled in higher education complete their degrees or certifications. In Canada, 20 of every 100 students accomplishes this, while in Switzerland that number stands at 26 and in the United Kingdom it hits 25. Other countries far worse, though. In Mexico, 16 out of every 100 students complete their degrees or certifications, while in Korea, 18 complete this task.