With the right team and tech, institutions can drive innovation, boost on-time completion, and improve the overall student experience.

Overcoming barriers to on-time completion

With the right team and the right technology institutions can drive innovation, boost student success, and improve the overall student experience

When it comes to on-time completion, the latest national survey reveals some good news: college completion rates across all types of institutions went up in 2021. Six-year completion rates rose by 1.2 percent and community college completion increased by 1.5 percent. Coming in the midst of the pandemic, this improvement demonstrates extraordinary dedication on the part of both institutions and students.

But — and you might have guessed a but was coming — these increases still leave nearly 40 percent of students struggling to complete a 4-year degree within six years. And only one out of every three financially independent students completes a degree at all.

Leaders at colleges and universities are deeply committed to breaking down the barriers that block success for their students. To support them in this effort, a recent survey asked more than 2,000 current college students and recent college graduates to identify the biggest roadblocks they face on their way to earning a degree.

The results of this survey reflect a number of challenges for leaders in higher ed. However, the results also point to solutions that can effectively address the roadblocks.

Why Aren’t College Students Graduating on Time?

A recent survey found that college students confront three roadblocks to on-time graduation: course availability, transfer, and degree pathway.

On the course availability front, many students indicated that they are waitlisted for the courses they need for on-time completion:

  • 57% of current students were waitlisted and unable to take at least one class they needed to graduate on time
  • 41% of current students were forced to find classes at another institution
  • 22% of recent graduates said they had changed their major or minor because the courses they needed to graduate were not available

3 ways to create supports for college completion
Arne Duncan: College completion–not simply access–critical to nation’s future

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