Financial Aid, High School Prep Help Keep Students in College, Study Shows

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Teens

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Staying in college is all about the Benjamins. And lots of other factors, too. Credit: Corbis


Beer and Benzedrine! Beer and Benzedrine!

The question today, class, is what keeps students from finishing college? Does anyone have an answer that does not include drugs and alcohol?

Paul Attewell, Scott Heil and Liza Reisel say it depends. At two-year colleges, students need more financial aid. At four-year institutions, it's more important they get the right classes and preparation before they arrive.

Attewell, Heil (both from City University of New York) and Reisel (from the Institutt for Samfunnsforskning in Norway) report on the subject in the American Educational Research Journal.

The researchers, studying why students fail to complete college, looked at financial aid, integration into campus life, high school preparation, gender, race, socioeconomic status, work hours, enrollment in remedial classes and nontraditional student status.

The answer includes all of the above.

No single factor dominated why college students stay or go. Nonetheless, the researchers did learn a few things.

  • Financial aid and work-study programs are particularly important in helping students finish two-year degrees.
  • Students at four-year institutions need to come better prepared academically from high school. In their report, the researchers say this is not a big factor at community colleges where classes tend to cater to (no offense) academically weaker students.
  • Nontraditional students (students who go to school part-time, are older or have children and/or spouses) have it really rough. This is probably not big news to all the nontraditional students out there. Take heart, however. You have the researchers' sympathy. They're just not exactly sure how to help -- other than telling kids not to wait to go to college.
Basically, the researchers say, students need more money, preparation and time with less stress. Careful. That beer is sounding better all the time.

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