College dropouts, you might have only yourselves to blame. At least this is what a new study hints at. The study, published in SAGE Open, found five student characteristics that can accurately predict graduation at almost 90 percent, even before a student starts school. While these characteristics seem to be all about the students themselves, outside factors still play a significant part in helping students get fit for grad.
Researcher Tim Gramling led this study on more than 2,500 students from a large for-profit institution. The five factors found to highly influence likelihood of graduation are a higher GPA, full-time status, black race (over white), a higher number of transfer credits when enrolling, and higher expected family contribution.
Although I won't argue with the race factor, since students can't really change that, other components can be tweaked with structural and institutional help. Federal policy works with the assumption that the status of the university (non-profit or for-profit) is the cinching determinator of whether or not students graduate. Turns out, money does play an important part, but not in the ways we tend to think.
It's pretty obvious, actually — students who split their time between school and paid employment are missing out on the single-minded focus that could be the key to being passionate about school and getting the good grades that come with this drive. Knowing this, schools should work toward policies that allow students greater monetary support, at least enough for them to afford full-time status.
"Policymakers could increase funding for lower income students which would mitigate the need for expected family contribution and provide incentives for them to attend school full time — both factors that have shown accurately predict higher graduation odds," explained Gramling. OK... so really, maybe college dropouts shouldn't so readily blame their personal characteristics. Rather, we need look at the financial situation each student happens to be in and work with that to get them their degree.
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