Lots of debt but no degree: the catch-22 for college dropouts

at 09:57 AM ET, 05/29/2012

More high school students are going to college than ever before, but the number of college dropouts is on the rise, as well. My colleague Ylan Mui and I explain how leaving college with debt but no degree puts dropouts in an economic bind:
Gan Golan of Los Angeles holds a ball and chain representing his college loan debt during Occupy DC activities in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin - AP)

Nearly 30 percent of college students who took out loans dropped out of school, up from fewer than a quarter of students a decade ago, according to a recent analysis of government data by think tank Education Sector. College dropouts are also among the most likely to default on their loans, falling behind at a rate four times that of graduates.
That is raising new questions about the wisdom of decades of public policy that focused on increasing access to higher learning but paid less attention to what happens once students arrive on campus. And some education experts have begun to argue that starting college — and going into debt to pay for it — without a clear plan for a diploma is a recipe for disaster.
“They have the economic burden of the debt, but they do not get the benefit of higher income and higher levels of employment that one gets with a college degree,” said Jack Remondi, chief operating officer at Sallie Mae, the nation’s largest private student lender. “Access and success are not linking up.”

You can read the whole story here.

 
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