HomeFinance NewsPersonal financeCollege Dropout Epidemic: Why Youngsters Are Walking Away in Droves

College Dropout Epidemic: Why Youngsters Are Walking Away in Droves


More students are dropping out of college — here’s why


College enrollment is plateauing, but the number of students who withdraw after starting has risen, reaching over 40 million unenrolled individuals.

Approximately 26% of current undergraduates are considering leaving or are at risk of dismissal.

Factors contributing to this trend include financial challenges, which are cited by most students contemplating withdrawal.

Rising college costs, already averaging $56,190 at private institutions and $24,030 at public ones, are making it difficult for students to cover expenses like tuition, housing, and textbooks.

Furthermore, first-generation college students, minorities, and low-income students are disproportionately affected by withdrawal considerations.

They often juggle multiple responsibilities, including work commitments, which can hinder their educational progress.

Beyond financial barriers, other reasons for withdrawal include loss of motivation, life changes, and mental health challenges.

Ironically, interrupting education makes it harder to resume later, and the default rate on student loans is higher for those who drop out.

Experts advise students to seek alternative funding sources, such as scholarships, part-time work, or shared living arrangements, to mitigate financial burdens.

It’s crucial to exhaust all options and avoid accumulating debt without completing a degree, as the consequences can be severe.

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    “We need more support for early college planning, especially for first-generation students or those from underserved communities,” said Rick Castellano, a spokesperson for Sallie Mae.”

    “Often the conversation is about access,” he added, but “there are a ton of things we can do to better address college completion.”

    “More from Personal Finance:FAFSA fiasco may cause drop in college enrollment, experts sayHarvard is back on top as the ultimate ‘dream’ schoolThis could be the best year to lobby for more college financial aid”The best thing you can do is stay the course and look for other sorts of funding, such as scholarships”

    “he said.”


    “The number of students who started college but then withdrew has been on the rise, recent reports show.”

    “Financial challenges are the main reasons at-risk students consider dropping out, according to one study.”

    “Getting into college is one thing, staying in is another.”

    “Although college enrollment declines leveled off this year, the number of students who started but then withdrew has been on the rise, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.”

    “There are now more than 40 million students who are currently unenrolled.”

    “At the same time, roughly 26% of current undergraduates have seriously considered leaving college or are at risk of dismissal, according to a separate report by education lender Sallie Mae.”

    “Students who are the first in their family to attend college are much more likely to consider leaving at some point, as are minorities and low-income students, who may also be juggling work commitments, the report found.”

    “Higher education, as a whole, is under pressure, experts say.”

    “Rising college costs and ballooning student loan debt balances have caused more students to question the return on investment.”

    “Meanwhile, college is only getting more expensive.”

    “Tuition and fees plus room and board for a four-year private college averaged $56,190 in the 2023-24 school year.”

    “At four-year in-state public colleges, it was $24,030, according to the College Board, which tracks trends in college pricing and student aid.”

    “About half of students at risk of dropping out said it is difficult for them to meet the cost of tuition as well as other related expenses, such as textbooks, housing and food, according to Sallie Mae.”

    “However, “it’s harder to come back after taking a gap year or multiple gap years,” Castellano also noted.”

    “The worst thing you can do is have loans and drop out because then you have the debt and not the advantage of the degree,” said Nancy Goodman, founder of College Money Matters, a nonprofit focused on helping high school students and their families make informed decisions about paying for college.”

    “Already, among borrowers who start college but never finish, the default rate is nearly three times higher than the rate for borrowers who have a diploma, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts.”

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