Synthesis Essay Sample on Student Attrition in the USA

Published: 2019-02-07
Synthesis Essay Sample on Student Attrition in the USA
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Education Students
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 927 words
8 min read

Student Attrition in the USA

Graduating from colleges and universities; holding a diploma or degree certificates stand out as critical requirements that increase the chances of people to get employments in competitive jobs and obtaining lucrative salaries (Casselman 1). However, the successful completion of the courses that students pursue depends on multiple factors including the mental state of the learner, the nature of the learning environment, socio-economic and political backgrounds, and the general societal values relating to education. Whenever a student fails to attain a proper balance of the effects imposed by these determining factors, they become vulnerable to drop out hence reduced retention and graduation rates in higher education centers.

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In the United States of America, there is a high rate of student attrition approximated to be between 30% and 50%. The cases of students not finishing their studies make the country the leading in student dropouts thus raising the question on the possible reasons for such a massive decline in student graduation rates, the effects and possible interventions to change the statistics. US Attrition rates reflect the number of students who are admitted into various courses in the country but drop out of the system before completion. A backdrop in the number of students graduating in their respective classes has negative imperatives of the country, economy and the individuals. There is a marked trend in the vulnerability of students to dropping out of their studies. For instance, in the United States, attrition rates are more pronounced among ethnic minorities, students with learning disabilities with disabilities, low socioeconomic status (O'Keeffe 606).

Causes of Student Attrition

Multiple reasons cause vulnerability of students in the US to drop out of colleges and universities. The reasons are psychological, material, and social. Most students fail to develop a sense of belonging to the entire education system, feel rejected and unable to adjust to the usual academic challenges associated with life in college. Belongingness is critical in determining the success of students in college and their retention rates. Nonetheless, the sense of being part of the education process is often elusive for some students in the USA. Part-time students are the most likely to withdraw from their classrooms and eventually drop out altogether (O'Keeffe 607). Though education centers should adopt a system that creates a supportive and conducive environment for the learners to belong, it is arguable that the students themselves have to have first an accommodative mindset and motivation to complete their education.

The academic achievements of parents is also a factor that predisposes students to attrition. Statistics show that first-generation students- students who are the first in their family line to register for a higher education are at high risk of dropouts (O'Keeffe 606). Thy lack a figurehead emulate hence lack the fundamental motivation necessary in overcoming the challenges of studies.

The idea that college dropouts make enough money to stain them creates an illusion that not completing a degree is not necessarily an indication of financial failure in the future. College and university dropouts do not adequately develop the sense of self-motivation or do not establish stronger social networks. These attributes are not only important in career development but also in professional success.

Effects of Increased Student Attrition the United States of America

In the US, student education is primarily funded by the government. Therefore, when individuals pursuing their degrees and diplomas fail to graduate, they do not account for the motives behind the state funding. Paying tuition fees for students using government revenue implies that the US invests in them with an expectation of returns in the form of improved expertise, expansion in labor force and innovativeness. Achievement of these goals depends on if the students pursue their course to a conclusion. In essence, the overall returns on investments in education are little (Matthews 2).

A publication titled 'Finishing the First Lap: The Cost of First-Year Student Attrition in America's Four-Year Colleges and Universities' contend that between the year 2003 and 2008 alone, the US lost US$6.18 billion in higher education subsidies to students who did not graduate (O'Keeffe 605). As an economy, the United States depends on its trained youths to drive the innovations, industries, local and international businesses. The reduced number of students graduating from colleges imply that they do not get the full training requisite in developing professionals. A shrinking expertise base portends a shrinking American economy (Casselman 1). President Obama commenting on the case of reduced graduation rates contended that it "represents a threat to our position as the world's leading economy.t

The failure to complete degrees subject the students to low paying occupations. Matthews (2013) contends that higher wages are attributable to a studentts greater access to college, rather than other cofactors. Not finishing a degree or any higher education course has worse economic imperatives on the student than if he or she never begun the studies at all (Matthews 1). Some of the economic losses include lost time, wasted fees, and lost employment opportunities. Furthermore, the students who fail to graduate with a degree of any other credentials find it difficult to repay their loans. The inability to pay is because they cannot locate employments at all or get absorbed into low-skill requiring and lowly paid jobs

Works Cited

Casselman, Ben (29 March 2017). The Cost of Dropping Out --- Millions Struggle With High College Debt and No Degree. Retrieved from

Matthews, Dylan (March 29, 2017). Going to college is worth it -- even if you drop out. Retrieved from

O'Keeffe, Patrick. "A sense of belonging: Improving student retention."T College Student JournalT 47.4 (2013): 605-613.

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