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In College, Time is Money


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Raise your hand if you plan to graduate from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in 4 years? I’m guessing your hand is up, because according to a recent survey, 9 out of 10 college freshman plan to be ‘out in 4’.

But the reality is that, according to the Department of Education, 45% of students won’t have earned an undergraduate degree even 6 years after they enter college! These shocking numbers were the highlight of a recent Time Magazine article about the ‘Hidden Cost of College’, and I couldn’t be happier to see graduation rate as a part of the national conversation.

During the college search, most families are unaware that the graduation rates at many colleges and universities are shockingly low. Only about 100 schools have 4-year graduation rates over 75%, so chances are some schools on your list will not be getting students out in a reasonable amount of time. We designed Tractus Insight so that grad rates for particular colleges are easy to find and families can compare colleges based on this statistic, because it is such an essential consideration.

As you anticipate the cost of attending college, have you considered just how expensive a 5th or 6th year of college will be? In addition to tuition, books, and living expenses, a college student is also NOT earning a salary from a full time job. So it’s a double whammy that many people don’t anticipate.

Throughout your college search, be sure to look carefully at the 4, 5, and 6-year graduation rates. If you plan to play a sport, ask the coach about the graduation rates of student athletes. Are they better or worse than the overall rates for the college? It just might save you time and money.

By Lori McGlone, founder of Tractus Insight, a tool that helps families discover colleges that fit and navigate the college search with ease. Insight was built with support from the Gates Foundation.

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