"Money" misses mark on attrition causes. it's all about preparation.
- Written by Brent Duncan, PhD
In "Government spends billions to help send low-income students to college", "Money" kind of misses the mark on why attrition is so high for underserved student populations, putting the bulk of the blame on what happens in the school after the student is enrolled.
Reality: Student preparation is the most accurate predictor of student success.
This is why traditional institutions generally have such strict entry standards. Students who have proven successful are more likely to continue to be successful.
Institutions that open doors to underserved populations are essential for providing opportunities to those who cannot overcome barriers of traditional institutions; but, they have a moral obligation to prepare students for success before putting them into debt. This is why remediation programs are important. Ideally, remediation should be initiated before the student enters a program. Otherwise, boosting enrollment by pushing into the classroom students who lack the capacity and competency to succeed is like recruiting high school students into the military, then sending them straight to the front lines of combat. A few may survive, most will not.
In short, to immediately impact attrition rates, prepare students for success. At least, give them a "boot camp" to prepare them for the challenges of higher education.