A new report claiming $4 billion in taxpayer funds directed to community college students has been “wasted” because many students dropped out before attaining a credential is misleading, according to community college advocates.
The report released Thursday by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) looked at first-time, full-time community college students in a degree or certificate program from 2004-05 to 2008-09 who did not return for a second year. Those students received $3 billion in state and local tuition aid, $240 million in state grants and $660 million in federal grants, it said.
The costs have increased every year, the report found. The total amount of taxpayer money “wasted” on community college dropouts rose from $660 million in 2004-05 to more than $900 million in 2008-09, it said.
“Taking into account transfers, in every year we studied, about one-fifth of full-time students who began their studies at a community college did not return for a second year,” the report stated. “These students have paid tuition, borrowed money and changed their lives in pursuit of a degree they will never attain.”
Community colleges have been touted as a key factor in achieving the nation’s goal to increase the number of college-educated citizens, in large part due to their “perceived low price to students,” according to AIR. However, “something that seems so inexpensive can in fact be very costly, once we take into account the low levels of student success,” it said. Read more.
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