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How to Combat Falling College Graduation Rates

What can parents do before their students begin the college process in order to increase their chances of success and increase college graduation rates?

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With the regular increase of college tuition rates, cuts in state funding for post high school education, and higher student debt loads, the trend of students attaining more education than their parents in the United States is declining. This is an alarming trend that needs to be addressed by parents, students, and our country as a whole. 

College Parenting Expert, Wendy David-Gaines, takes a close look at this trend and the results published in CNBC’s Debt by Degree series.

What can parents do before their students begin the college process in order to increase their chances of success in college?

How can they NOT become a statistic and fight falling college graduation rates? Wendy answers these questions and more in her latest college prep article.  


Future generations of young Americans are in danger of not achieving their parents’ level of education. This will have a huge impact on upward mobility that has traditionally come from earning a college degree, according to CNBC’ s Debt by Degree series. Greater job opportunities and higher salaries may be lost unless families address this issue.

Debt by Degree listed some chilling facts about how the U.S. has fallen behind other nations when it comes to college. “In 1995, the United States was first among OECD member countries, with a 33 percent graduation rate. Since then, as graduation rates have risen around the developed world, the U.S. has fallen far behind, ranking 19th out of 29 countries studied by the OECD…About half of young people in OECD countries have attained their parents’ level of education. But in the United States, only 20 percent of U.S. men and 27 percent of U.S. women have more education than their parents.”

Student debt is not the only issue when “deep budget cuts in state funding for public higher education and shrinking subsidies at private schools have pushed a greater share of the cost onto students and their families.” This “widening gap between the cost of higher education and the growth of household income” may prevent the college-bound from attending at all based on affordability, Debt by Degree reported. Parents and students can approach the challenge together.

College planning should include college financial planning. Having the college conversation early puts everyone on the same page to commit to the same goals and be ready to work together. Parents and students can use the parent-student team to research options that are practical and realistic. They can contact their state and federal representatives to urge the restoration of government investment in college for future generations.

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Making education a high priority serves both individual and national interests. Please share your views in the comments section about the upward mobility of college-bound in jeopardy.

How to Combat Falling College Graduation Rates

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